A DEBT charity is bracing itself for a flood of calls as concern over “Christmas debt” grows.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP), which has centres in Sunderland and Houghton, provides a free service to families suffering money troubles.
Theresa Finch, centre manager at the Sunderland branch, said that while it is rarely Christmas on its own that gets households into debt, using credit to pay for it can make a fragile situation worse.
“What starts as a bit of an income boost can lead to difficulties when working hours get cut, the washing machine breaks or someone is ill,” she said.
“The point is, none of us know what is around the corner for 2014, and the best present for your family is to create some financial stability for when life throws the unexpected at us.”
The Sunderland centre, which is run in partnership with the city’s Bethshan Church, gives a “face-to-face free service” where every client is seen in their own home.
They are given the chance to talk through difficulties, often built up over a long period of joblessness or low income, sometimes mixed with other issues like relationship breakdown or illness in the family.
CAP then gets to work negotiating with creditors to stop interest payments while helping the client to budget and stick to a repayment plan or explore insolvency options.
For more information about CAP’s free debt counselling service, visit www.capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006