Bedlington’s Debt Help Centre celebrated its first anniversary this week after its launch last December.
The service helps people with out-of-control personal debt and is run by Hope Church Bedlington in partnership with national charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP).
Every client is visited in their own home, CAP does all the negotiating with creditors and local volunteers offer support to each person face-to-face until the day they are debt free.
Kay Fancett, volunteer debt centre manager, said “It has been an eventful but rewarding year. Of all the different clients I and my team of dedicated volunteers have seen, two households are now completely free from debt and a further 11 are progressing through the process.
“It has been a delight to bring hope and a way forward into lives that have been completely overcome with despair and darkness.
“Many of the people I have seen are in debt through no fault of their own.
“Ill health, relationship breakdown or changes in benefit payments have been the key triggers that can cause people already living on the edge to be plunged into unmanageable debt in this area.
“Additionally, I urge people not to get into debt over Christmas.
“Be careful about buying things from catalogues or on credit cards that you will not be able to repay.”
The Bedlington CAP centre serves the communities of Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Cramlington and Morpeth.
James Shepherd, one of Hope Church Bedlington’s leaders, said: “Our Debt Help Centre complements the Community Help Hub in Front Street Bedlington, which we also run, offering assistance to people searching for work, with job applications and CVs as well as applying for, querying or challenging benefit decisions.
“Providing these two services is our way of being here for people in their hour of need.”
Those needing help with personal debt are urged to call 0800 3280006 or go online to capuk.org to book their first appointment.