A new branch of a national debt relief charity has opened in Larne to deal with the growing need for free debt help in the local area.
The Christians Against Poverty (CAP) centre, which opened at the end of May, offers a range of services to alleviate the stress of debt for individuals and families.
Centre Manager Wendy Davison told The Times that there was a demand for such services in the area. She commented: “There has been a need for quite a few years to have a centre up and running in Larne. There are already centres in Newtownabbey and Carrick and the Carrick centre manager had been coming in and trying to meet the need in Larne but was snowed under. The new Larne centre fills the gap so that the whole area is covered right up to Ballymena.
The Christian charity offers a personalised service to those in despair over debt. Wendy explained: “We come to clients in their own homes, which is more convenient for single parents, elderly people or those suffering from anxiety or depression. We bring support workers with us who offer practical support. We also work with food banks, particularly for people in a lot of need, until a budget is in place. We distribute food banks vouchers for the Trussell Trust food bank in the Methodist Church, and they can refer people to us.”
CAP’s head office also negotiates manageable, regular repayments with creditors on service users’ behalf. Wendy stresses that, in contrast with other debt agencies, CAP is completely free to use: “There are no hidden costs involved, either up front or through hidden fees. We don’t charge anything. We run fundraising in the local area and in local churches people who wish to be involved financially with our work can donate. But we don’t expect service users to give anything.”
Although the group is partnered with Larne Baptist Church and works with Gardenmore and Magheramorne Presbyterian Churches, its services are available to everyone. Wendy continues: “We are cross-community and open to everybody. We help everyone regardless of religion or nationality.”
Fundraising initiatives in the local community have included sponsored walks, and the charity welcomes fundraising support from local businesses.
Recently, Carlin Solicitors raised £744.75 for CAP through a sponsored walk on July 26. Anyone wishing to use CAP’s services should call the organisation’s headquarters on freephone 0800328006. They will then be referred to a local representative.