LISTEN: Angela Hanvey on the help available from CAP in Highland Perthshire
Highland Perthshire’s Christians Against Poverty group, known as CAP in short, is reminding people that help is out there when it comes to handling money this winter.
CAP help people manage their money when times get tough by offering not just financial education, but also emotional support during a troubling time.
Angela Hanvey, Highland Perthshire’s Debt Manager for CAP, said: “It’s very much a hidden problem, I think in the major towns or cities you can identify an area where you can identify where perhaps you could say that’s an area of depravation, or that estate is where people are struggling with multiple problems.
“Here in Highland Perthshire, as I say, it’s very much hidden, but the individual cases, individual homes, where there are families or individuals who are struggling to make ends meet.
“So, in Highland Perthshire, it’s individual cases, perhaps in your street where a family are struggling to make ends meet.
“Whether it’s because they’ve lost their income or it’s been reduced for whatever reason, and no one should have to choose between heating or eating and that is the case in some places.”
But CAP wants to remind everyone, that they are not alone, they want to help.
‘It’s an amazing feeling when we can make a phone call to someone and say, by the way, you’re now debt free’, explained Angela Hanvey.
She said: “If people are struggling with debt, we would advise that they contact CAP, or any other debt advice agency, as soon as possible so that the debt doesn’t build up.
“But in these days of Coronavirus, we would be meeting them by phone or by video call, because we can no longer meet people in their homes which we would normally do.
“But we would then go through the service with them telling them how we would help them, encouraging them to get together all the paperwork we might need to take their case forward.
“Our debt advisors will negotiate with creditors on the client’s behalf to find an affordable repayment.
“They will distribute payments made by the clients into what we call a CAP plan; we would distribute those to the creditors.
“And we would find a volunteer befriender to walk alongside the client, helping them with emotional and practical support.
“Taking them out for coffee or for lunch, because debt doesn’t come by itself, it brings with it stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness and isolation.
“And so we don’t just look at the financial impact on someone’s life, but we have a more holistic approach looking at their whole life, trying to encourage them to socialise again.”
For Ms Hanvey, this is not just an issue she cares about, but it’s a personal passion of hers, coming from experience of understanding the difficulty of debt.
She explained: “I found myself in a situation where I’d been on and off work for about six months, I’d used up all of my savings and I didn’t know where my next mortgage payment was coming from.
“I had a real fear of being evicted, not knowing that it could take three or four months of missed payments before any action could be taken.
“But that fear drove me to contact several agencies, who were helpful, they sent me an inch-thick forum to fill in.
“Another organisation was all online, but to be honest, my mental health wasn’t the best.
“And I didn’t have the energy is not the right word, but I didn’t have the motivation to fill these forums in, and I needed someone to help me, and that help wasn’t around.
“And so when I heard about CAP, and the help they provided, I decided that something like that was available here, and I spoke to our local church, of whom I’m a member, they were keen to see it happen.
“So, Aberfeldy Parish Church partnered up with Christians against poverty in to set up this debt help service in Highland Perthshire to serve our local community.”
For people who want to find out more about the support available to them, more information is available from: https://www.facebook.com/CAPuk/
Alternatively, there is information available from their website: https://capuk.org/
Or over the phone on: 0800 328 0006