How Hartlepool's Grace Church is helping people struggling with debt during the pandemic
A Hartlepool church is urging people facing money problems due to the coronavirus pandemic to take up free help on offer.
The Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre, based at Grace Church, Hartlepool, provides debt help and associated support to anyone who has been left struggling.
It also helps people by linking up with local food banks, arranging emergency fuel top ups, encouragement and a friendly voice at the end of a phone.
Centre manager Violet Reid said: “We know that many people wait as long as three years before finding help with their debts.
“Debt can be caused by many different reasons – ill health, bereavement, relationship breakdown or low income – so it may not just be due to the pandemic although we know that many people in our area have had a reduction in hours or income and may be struggling.
“Getting help as early as possible can make a big difference.”
The service has adapted to follow social distancing guidelines to stay safe whilst still offering its award-winning debt help.
One client, known simply as John, praised the service for the help he received after going without meals due to debt.
He said: “I was completely alone and there was no one to talk to. Then I got in touch with CAP. It was amazing.
"Because I was going without meals, they brought me a big bag of stuff from the food bank
“At last someone was here to listen to me and help me. I could finally breathe.”
People can contact CAP on 0800 3280006 or visit capuk.org