Christians Against Poverty was founded in 1996 by John Kirkby. He believed God was calling him to sacrifice his career in finance and use his knowledge of the industry to help the poor: people crippled by debt, parents who couldn’t feed their children, families facing eviction and desperate people living in fear and without hope. He used his expertise to negotiate with creditors, set up budgeting systems and offer a lifeline to those trapped in debt.
John knew that people all over the country were struggling in the same way and he began looking to replicate the work across the UK. With the vital ingredients of a church to partner with, a passionate person to be trained as a debt counsellor and the faith that God would provide, four new CAP centres were opened at the end of 1998.
Since then, CAP has grown its debt centre network and expanded its services to tackle the causes of debt and poverty too. As well as CAP Debt Help, it now offers CAP Job Clubs, CAP (addiction) Release Groups and has a brand new service, CAP Life Skills, to equip people to live well on a low income. Its vision is to bring freedom and good news to the poor in every community through 1,000 CAP projects by 2021.
CAP is not an advocacy organisation: it simply works with local churches to help heavily-indebted people directly. It does this by enabling them to bring financial discipline to their lives at the same time as managing creditors. As such it is unique: all other service providers in this space offer advice for self-help.
In 2016, 2600 households were enabled to become debt-free. Many more had their lives transformed by the saving grace of Jesus.
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