Support available for Newtownabbey residents in debt

The Antrim and Ballyclare Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre offers free help to local people facing money problems.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 5:34 pm

Irene Kilpatrick, Centre Manager, is urging those who are struggling with debt to seek help as early as possible especially now that Universal Credit has been reduced by £20 a week, the Furlough scheme has ended and energy prices are increasing.

Sadly, the Debt Centre has seen all too often that people are struggling to find enough money to cover essentials like rent and heating and then not having enough money left for food or to pay back arrears. It’s a juggling act which is impossible to manage without help.

Heather Lawther, Debt Coach at the centre said: “Debt is never just a maths problem, it impacts lives, relationships and emotions. The stress of it can have adverse effects on health, both mental and physical.

Support is available for people in debt.

“Tragically, some people even consider suicide as a way out of debt.”

Irene emphasised: “We want people to know that there is no judgement - people can be in debt through all sorts of reasons such as low income, job loss, bereavement, illness - whatever the reason we’re here to help completely free of charge. This year has been challenging enough with the Coronavirus pandemic, so we want to encourage people to get help now so that they can have a more positive end to 2021.”

Antrim and Ballyclare (CAP) Debt Centre offer the following tips on how to keep costs low

this autumn.

Turn the thermostat down by just two degrees from 20°C to 18°C. This will make a big difference. If you can afford to, make sure that you have your boiler serviced to ensure it is operating efficiently. If you still feel cold, wrap up in a jumper or blanket before turning it up any higher.

Spend less time in the shower by setting a timer. Doing so could save a family of four, on average, as much as £100 per year.

Use cold water for hand washing. It’s the soap that kills the bacteria, not the hot water.

Unplug your microwave. A microwave uses energy to power its clock 24/7. By unplugging it when you’re not using it, you can really cut down on electricity.

Replace your light bulbs. Moving from traditional incandescent bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LED bulbs saves money because they are 90 per cent more energy efficient and last 50 times longer.

Don’t use plug in electric heaters unless absolutely necessary. They use a tremendous amount of electricity and the bills will go up dramatically.

Investigate local sources of support for warmer homes such as boiler grants and free loft insulation.

Anyone who is worried about debts that are causing anxiety is asked to contact CAP on 0800 328 0006 or


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