You might wonder why an attractive affluent village like Nettleham needs a Christians Against Poverty (CAP) debt centre but this is just what Nettleham Methodist Church committed to in 2014 following a strong sense of God saying that they needed to get out into the community and that He would provide the necessary resources. The now CAP Manager, Marcus Harborne, sensed this call which was then confirmed by Superintendent Minister, Rev Alan Swann. Marcus and Alan attended a CAP partnership meeting in London to discover more and within months, and after some training, Marcus became the first debt coach in Nettleham. He has since been joined by two others. The church committed to raising the funds to provide the monthly donation to CAP which provides the head office professional support of around 200 staff with specialist skills. Grants were received from the Lincolnshire Methodist District Advance Fund, Tearfund's Cinnamon Network and the JR Halkes Trust.
This all happened over seven years ago and since then they have worked with 248 clients and client families seeing 41 clients completely debt free (as at 25.10.21). They know that the vast majority of others have been helped on their way. There are currently 40 clients on the books and the Nettleham centre has the capacity to take on five new clients per month spread between three debt coaches. They cover the geographic areas of Lincoln, surrounding villages and further afield as centres in Boston and Grimsby have temporarily closed in recent months.
Millions of people across the UK are burdened with problem debt and this can even be the case in Nettleham, although it is a relatively hidden problem here. In addition to the debt, clients are often isolated, lonely and confused and statistics show that a third of those in debt have contemplated taking their life. On one visit the client said "This is the first time I've smiled in years". Each client is shown that there is hope, is assured that God loves them and wants the very best for them. The service is free for the client.
The debt coach communicates information between the client and the head office staff who are the ones to create a budget and the repayment plan. Each client is also offered the support of a befriender, of which there are 12 at present, who provides encouragement for the client on their journey towards becoming debt free as well as providing social support. This may include phone calls, meeting for a coffee, sending a birthday card or encouragement to link with the church community. Covid meant that face to face visits ceased for a while but face to face meetings are now arranged with particularly vulnerable clients for whom a telephone interview wouldn't be so suitable.
One of the joys for Marcus is that the debt coaches and befrienders come from a variety of different churches and denominations. Another joy is that some people have come to faith in Jesus as a result of this very real love in action.
If you need help with debt and want to contact CAP then call 0800 328 0006
If you would like to find out more about the Nettleham Centre then you can contact Marcus by sending an email to email@example.com
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