Didcot & Wallingford cap Debt Centre
Adapted from the Trustees Report 2019
The Didcot and Wallingford CAP Debt Centre is a partnership between seven churches in the Didcot and Wallingford area (and the national charity ‘Christians Against Poverty’) and was registered as a CIO with the Charity Commission in February 2015 (Reg no 1160343).
The objects of the Charity are
The relief of poverty by providing a debt counselling and debt management service
The advancement of the Christian religion in Didcot and Wallingford and the surrounding area
Activity during 2019
During the year, 28 client families were referred to us bringing the total in the first five years to over 130 and we saw 17 individuals and families going debt-free during the year – nearly doubling the total since we started to 36.
For most of the year we were working at full capacity of 4 referrals per month and at the end of 2019 we were working with 24 families at various stages of the debt-management process. We were, however, unable to take on any new clients after August due to CAP HQ introducing a temporary halt to referrals enabling them to clear a backlog of work and implement new systems to increase future capacity.
During 2019 we have supported clients going to court, undergoing benefit reviews and going through various family issues. We have also been able to support clients through the generosity of church members by providing foodbank vouchers, electricity and gas top-ups, white goods, various items of furniture as well as cleaning and redecorating a client’s flat.
We have continued to collect fresh food each week from Waitrose and Tesco through our partnership with the charity FareShare. This allows us to distribute packages of fresh food to our neediest clients – food which would otherwise be thrown away.
During December we again put together and delivered 42 Christmas hampers with food and Christmas gifts to clients thanks to the generosity of church members and the local foodbank.
A number of activities for clients took place during the year including a Fish and Chip Supper (with magician and evangelist), Summer BBQ, Pamper Evening, Games Afternoon and a day trip to Bournemouth. These were all well attended. Various clients are now engaging with one of the partner churches in a variety of ways and five were baptised during 2019.
A Debt Centre Day was held in April for Staff, Trustees and volunteers which includes some safeguarding and confidentiality training as well as opportunities for worship and fellowship.
This year, 29 volunteers have been involved in visiting and befriending clients and some of these have also been involved in other ways such as supporting clients to set up a new bank account, calling companies for up to date financial statements and arranging transport to appointments and events. The offer of ongoing friendship and social support has been offered to those clients who would appreciate it, and many relationships have developed well in this way.
Small groups of people from the partner churches continue to meet regularly in both Didcot and Wallingford to pray for the work of the Debt Centre. Termly joint church prayer meetings were also held in the Wallingford churches.
During the year CAP Advocates were appointed in each partner church to be a contact point and help raise the profile of our work within their church.
The Trustees recognise that without all these people, we would not be able to offer and provide the services we do. It is hoped that, in the coming year, the centre will be able to reach out to more clients providing them with financial help and, when the opportunity arises, spiritual guidance.
Governance and Management
The following have served as Trustees during the year:
Andy Avery (St Mary’s Church, Cholsey)
Bec Buss (Wallingford Baptist Church)
Tim Hammond (St Mary’s Church, Cholsey)
Simon Hudson (Wallingford Baptist Church)
Gareth Lloyd-Jones (Ridgeway Community Church)
Jonathan Mobey (St Matthew’s, Harwell with All Saints, Chilton)
Tim O’Brien (Didcot Baptist Church)
Andrew Petit (St Mary’s Church, Cholsey)
Rachel Tole (Wallingford Baptist Church)
Nick White (King’s Church, Didcot)
The day-to-way work of the Charity is in the hands of the part-time Centre Manager, Mrs Sue Bright. She continues to be supported by Mrs Susie Holden as a part-time Debt Coach. One of the Trustees acts as the Line Manager for the Centre Manager. Towards the end of the year, the Centre Manager took a well-earned sabbatical break.
The Charity Trustees meet four times a year to review progress and discuss future plans. In October the Trustees agreed to appoint a part-time administrator to support the work of the Centre starting in January 2020. They were able to do this due to the receipt of money from the Balsam Project and a grant of £1000 from South Oxfordshire District Council.