Church leads fight against bad credit

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend Justin Welby.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend Justin Welby.

A Spalding church is hoping to close the debt trap with the launch of a new money management course pioneered by a Christian charity.

The Lighthouse Church is teaming up with Bradford-based Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to run its CAP Money Course once a week, for three weeks, from Monday, June 22 at 7pm.

Six money coaches, including Pastor Chas Sandhu and Agapecare Foodbank Co-ordinator Irene Davies, will help clients with budgeting skills, money saving techniques and using cash, rather than credit.

Christian Kiock, another money coach at The Lighthouse Church, said: “The centre manager of CAP in Peterborough, Ken Pullen, came to our church recently to give a talk on how CAP helps people out of debt.

“The CAP Money Course, done in three parts, is an important opportunity for us to reach the people who can benefit from it.

“It’s basically about money management, something everybody can improve on – even just a little bit.”

CAP was founded by businessman John Kirkby in 1996 after the former sunbed retailer narrowly avoided bankruptcy four years earlier, despite facing debts of about £78,000.

The charity now has about 280 debt centres across the UK, as well as CAP Money Courses in more than 1,000 churches, CAP Job Clubs and 26 CAP Release Groups for people with “life-controlling dependencies”.

Ken, money management co-ordinator for The Lighthouse Church, said: “We live in a society where 61 per cent of people feel financially insecure (according to 2011 figures from online price comparison firm uSwitch) and 60 per cent have visited GPs with stress-related issues around debt.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the church to play its part, by working together with other agencies, to make a difference in clients’ lives.”

The CAP Money Course is the latest community project either run or supported by The Lighthouse Church whose members are also involved in Agapecare Foodbank, Spalding Street Pastors and The Lighthouse Project for vulnerable young people with life-controlling issues.

Christian said: “With households feeling the squeeze on their disposable income, we’ve all got to get a bit more savvy about our money to get through these tough times.

“We hope that we can help people, quietly and confidentially, take control rather than relying on guess work so they can plan for the future and weather the storm.

“If you know how to save and budget effectively, it can have a hugely positive impact on the whole family.”

Ken added: “The CAP Money Course is for everybody because you should be in charge of your money, not your money in charge of you.”