Stories of hope
My very first client after starting debt advice work was ten years ago. A lady in our church had a £20,000 loan debt after her husband left her and the two children. The debt was in joint names and the ex-husband declared himself bankrupt. She was pursued for the debt for many months. All the letters were just put away in a drawer and she approached me with the problem after a few months. She handed me all the letters, many unopened. It was my first case. I wondered what on earth I could do to help her. Firstly panic! I called the loan company to plead with them on her behalf, still panicking and desperate and pleading. I was told by the creditor to send in an income and expenditure statement. I obliged and went to put the letter in the post but I was reluctant to post it. I just couldn’t do it. In desperation I prayed and said to God 'its over to You, I cannot do anything' and posted the letter. Two weeks went by and I received a letter to say the debt was cancelled. WOW! I thought, that was easy - this debt work is easy” How wrong I was! BUT I believe it was God’s encouragement to press on with the debt work.
We restore lives. Clients come to us fearful, desperate, their world out of control and in a state of chaos. We put them back on their feet. We sort out the jumbled chaos of debt to understand where they are. We take the burden of the problems off their shoulders by being a shield from the threatening letters. We give them a plan, make arrangements and negotiate agreements. Now they have hope and they have structure. They can see life beyond the spiral of debt. They have a future. That is the unconditional love of debt advice.
A young lady with quite severe mental health issues had run up significant debts, more due to inaction than anything else. She had met a young man and also connected with a local church that encouraged her to seek help from the local Community Money Advice Centre. All creditors agreed to token payments and froze interest. Standing Orders were set up and she moved on free of the threatening letters that contributed to her mental malaise.
A young disabled mum of two, who was going through a messy divorce, approached us for help. Whilst we were helping her she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. This slowed down the speed at which we could work as she was hospitalised for a time. She struggled to organise paperwork or open letters but was blessed with a great support worker. She owed £17,500 in total and she successfully obtained a Debt Relief Order in August 2016, which was our first! It was encouraging to receive a lovely text message from her at the end of the process thanking us for all our help.
One of our very first clients (a married couple), after our first meeting with them, thanked us profusely and said that they would be able to sleep that night.
'Robert', a 30 year old man, had been homeless and was now living with his father, as his carer. He had taken out a loan of about £600 to buy a scooter to be able to get around. This loan had grown to £3200, which he couldn’t pay. The debt centre was able to apply for a Debt Relief Order (DRO) for him so that he could start again. When he first came in he was feeling dejected but after the DRO he was more positive, getting help to look after his father, starting to learn to drive and looking at joining new clubs and organisations.