A NEWTOWNABBEY church-based charity is celebrating three years of rescuing local people from personal debt - a free service literally saving lives.
In 2009, as the economic downturn started to bite, members of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church decided they wanted to do more to help people and partnered with debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to open a CAP centre for Newtownabbey and north Belfast.
Now the team have helped over 200 despairing local families and individuals by offering a free, face-to-face and caring service which gives both hope and a solution.
One of those was Mervyn McWatters, a local man in his 50s who became debt free on October 4, 2012.
After becoming unemployed and unable to find new work, Mervyn lost his car and then his house as the debts began to mount.
“It is a great feeling being free from the debt, but the best moment was three years ago when CAP came and took away all the threatening letters. They have been with me since then until all this was sorted,” he said.
Centre manager Brian Givans commented: “All the team and our clients have a lot to celebrate as we reach this three-year milestone. We have all seen for ourselves that debt, however bad, doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
“To celebrate this milestone we are holding special services in Carnmoney Presbyterian on Sunday, October 21.
“Mervyn will tell his story at the morning service (11am) and other clients will tell their stories at the evening service (6.30pm).”
He added: “The help we offer is available to everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background so we recommend you give us a call if you have spiralling debts that are getting you down.”
To find out more about CAP log on to www.capdebthelp.org or call 0800 328 0006.