The CAP Debt Centre, based at Keighley Shared Church, has received its 100th referral in its mission to help local people break free from debt.
Set up in May 2016, the Centre has surpassed expectations and says so far fifteen families and individuals are now completely debt free with many other working towards the same end.
Duncan Green, Centre Manager (pictured left) says, "For many people debt is only one part of the picture with underlying issues of anxiety, depression, addictions and poverty. Our team of befrienders are there to help in lots of ways and it’s a wonderful thing to see people’s lives touched by the love, friendship and the practical support on offer."
Each person is offered free personalised support, friendship and help alongside the professional debt relief services of Christians Against Poverty (CAP) based in Bradford. The Keighley centre is funded by the churches of Keighley Parish with a team of volunteers who work alongside the Centre Manager.
Rev Mike Cansdale, Team Rector of the Parish, (pictured right) said, "As Christians we take seriously the call of Jesus to bring good news to the poor and freedom to those who feel trapped. It is a real privilege to be there with these people and it’s a great celebration each time we hear that someone is debt-free. And the celebration is even greater as we are also seeing some of our CAP families coming to faith in Jesus and finding a place to belong in our churches.’"
The Church Urban Fund places Keighley Parish in the top 4% of most deprived parishes nationally with significant social issues connected to poverty. The initial target had been for twenty-five referrals a year but the demand has been far higher and actually doubled that number.
Mike added, "Our partnership with CAP is very important to us as we respond to the needs around us in Keighley. I’m extremely proud of the work that Duncan and our volunteers do and it’s exciting to see lives being transformed as people come to know Jesus.
"With the creation of our ‘super-parish’ we have cast a vision of the churches making a real difference by sharing our resources and working together, and what we have here is a taste of this in action. If funds can be found we’d love to expand the work of our centre to help even more people."