Newtownabbey CAP centre helping people in debt distress

Manager of Belfast North & Newtownabbey CAP debt centre Daniel Black with charity founder, John Kirkby.
Manager of Belfast North & Newtownabbey CAP debt centre Daniel Black with charity founder, John Kirkby.

A debt counselling service has released a list of five ways to help people reassess their finances and recognise if they need help.

Daniel Black, manager of the Belfast North and Newtownabbey CAP Debt Centre, which is a collaboration between Carnmoney Presbyterian Church and award-winning UK charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP), said: “We all have those things that we just put up with don’t we? And we put up with them for so long that they just become a normal part of our daily lives, when really they aren’t.

“People who come to us for debt help take an average of one to three years to get in touch, which means they are suffering with the worry and stress week after week when actually help is at hand. There are many reasons for this, with shame and embarrassment being the most common, but a quick phone call could set the wheels in motion.”

Daniel said he and his Debt Centre team visits every client in their home, helping people throughout Newtownabbey and North Belfast, with further help available throughout NI. Meanwhile, CAP’s head office negotiate a reduction in each persons debts and set up a repayment plan, with local volunteers offering support to each person until they become debt free.

He said: “If you recognise any of the five things on the list in relation to your household finances call us, don’t wait.”

The list has been developed from facts in the most recent CAP Client Report and the CAP Client Survey 2016, which was based on the representative sample of 3,060 clients from across the UK.

One: Are you unable to sleep? Are your money worries affecting your health? If so, you’re not alone. Eight out of 10 clients said debt had caused sleepless nights.

Two: Money problems often mean more family rows! Three quarters of those in a relationship said debt caused arguments between themselves and their partner. In almost a quarter of cases debt caused complete relationship breakdown. Two in five parents said their money worries also affected the emotional wellbeing of their children.

Three: Falling behind with bills. Four in 10 CAP clients seeking debt help are in arrears with their gas, electricity, rates, rent or mortgage bills.

Four: Borrowing to stay afloat. When you need to pay a bill are you automatically looking for credit? Are you borrowing from family and friends, or by going to medium or short term lenders?

Five: Threatening letters, telephone calls and bailiffs. This is a sure sign that you need to make that call to get some help. Don’t suffer alone. Anyone requiring debt help can call 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org