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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Christians Against Poverty celebrates first anniversary

CELEBRATIONS to mark the first anniversary of Whitehaven’s Christians Against Poverty centre take place this Sunday.

By Sarah Robinson

A service will be held at St John’s Church, at Hensingham, from 11am, followed by lunch.

CAP works with people of all backgrounds, whether church goers or not, who are in financial difficulty to budget and become debt-free.

Julian Berkeley, Whitehaven centre manager, said: “I can hardly believe that our first year has come around so quickly – it still feels so new.

“In that time we have been around most of our partner churches, giving talks at services about what CAP does and how it empowers the local church to serve the community in a new way, not only through operating a debt-counselling service but also in terms of life-skill education through the acclaimed CAP Money course.”

CPartner churches involved with the centre are St John’s, at Hensingham (as lead church); St Andrew’s Church, Woodbank Community Church; St Bridget’s Church at Moresby, New Life Church; Emmanuel and St Bees Priory.

The centre has more than two dozen volunteers who offer a variety of support to clients.

Julian said: “We saw our first client in August and then in November the floodgates opened and we have been booked up for one to two months ahead ever since.

Clients in a variety of situations are seeking help at the centre – from low income households, to people with a lack of financial education and those affected by money-lenders and retail advertising.

Julian said: “I have seen miracles too, such as one young mum who was unable to move due to rent arrears and whose child was suffering due to the dampness of the house; another family member got her to phone CAP but also worked with the housing association to deal with the arrears and to get her re-housed.

“What the church seeks to do, through partnering with CAP, is to lift people towards a happier and more fulfilling future, debt-free and with an understanding of budgeting.”

He said thanks goes to organisations such as Cumbria County Council, who have provided financial support, to individuals who support the centre in numerous ways.

“We look forward to our second year, still with a great deal to learn but hopeful that through this work people will feel supported and cared for.”

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