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, they have structure. They can see life beyond the spiral of debt. They have a future. That is the unconditional love of debt advice.
Our centre has been going four years with most clients in the first three years being white British. Today most come from the Asian community – this is more challenging but is beginning to change their perception of the church.
Our centre works with people by helping collate their financial information and debts – which may be by physically opening envelopes in carrier bags that have waited to be opened for fear of the contents. The process of helping someone open these envelopes, which is private and confidential to them, brings a trust to the process and helps that individual hugely. By being able to say, ‘any post in the future just readdress them to our office’ lifts a burden from that individual emotionally and practically it helps them get back on their feet. The feeling of relief that person shows at the end of the interview, that someone is interested and will help them, is rewarding and humbling.
We ran several budgeting courses to a variety of groups - from a “half way house” to debt clients to professional people to improve their financial situations. The plan is to develop this further for children and young adults, as there is a need in our area. This is of course beyond our normal debt advice work however we believe prevention is better than cure.
People have come to me and said they can now sleep at night. I have heard that someone was feeling better because she was actually been listened to. I was able to help someone because she kept getting upset whilst explaining her debt and I reassured her that its okay to feel emotional and she didn’t have to apologise. Just listening to her and helping her with why she came made her smile. I believe what we do is so needed. I know how it feels to be weighed down with debt and I want to help people feel what I felt when I became debt free.