Hundreds of people living in poverty urged to seek support

PUBLISHED: 06:55 28 February 2019

Gordano Area Debt Centre provides a free counselling service to help people who are struggling with their finances.

Gordano Area Debt Centre provides a free counselling service to help people who are struggling with their finances.

Archant

A free debt counselling service in North Somerset is encouraging people with money troubles to seek help.

The Gordano Area Debt Centre says living with a ‘poverty secret’ is dangerous to people’s health and wellbeing as it can lead to loneliness and isolation.

The support service has been set up by Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to give people free advice and practical help if they are struggling with financial problems.

Joanna Pritchett, who manages the Gordano Area Debt Centre, is encouraging people not to suffer in silence.

She said: “There are probably many hundreds of people in this area, living in isolation with a poverty secret.

“The sad truth is they may live in the same street as us, but they’re suffering from extreme loneliness because of their debts.

“It means that they can’t provide for their children, don’t have enough food to eat or can’t heat their home.

“Tragically, it even makes some of them consider taking their own lives.”

CAP’s client report found almost a third of its clients considered taking their own life because of debt.

Three quarters of those surveyed said they were afraid to answer the telephone and 80 per cent were scared to open their post.

The charity has set up 645 services across the UK to help with an increasing number of people living in poverty.

Joanna added: “People are created for community, they’re social beings, and the long-term damage of living with loneliness can be bad for your health”

The most common reasons for debt include low income, relationship breakdown, unemployment, problems with benefits, illnesses and bereavement.

The Gordano Area CAP Debt Centre is keen to help people escape from debt and the charity visits clients in their own home and works with them until they become debt free.

CAP’s head office specialists also negotiate with creditors, create a budget for clients and provide ongoing technical support.

The service is free and is run in partnership with Gordano Valley Church in Portishead.

For more details about the service call 08003 280006 or visit capuk.org

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