A CHARITY boss today issued a stark warning about the growing number of Wearside householders facing spiralling debt problems.
Fred Finch, who runs the Sunderland branch of debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty, fears that money troubles are leading to family-break-ups, depression or even suicide.
According to new research, the average household now owes more than £15,000 in loans, with the situation made worse by the ever-increasing threat of redundancy.
It also shows that most people waited more than a year before taking action to cut their debt, believing no one could help.
Mr Finch said that while the difficulties became more acute, their health, state of mind, relationships and ability to feed their children suffered.
“The most tragic figure for us is that so many people waited to get help, feeling suicidal, hungry and ill and all the while believing no one could help them,” said the centre manager.
“The most common reason for waiting literally years to get help is that they thought no one could tackle the situation.
“The truth is so very different, as our clients will tell you.”
Contrary to public opinion, Mr Finch said that spiralling debt is caused not by overspending and credit cards, but changes in circumstances such as job loss, relationship breakdown, illness or bereavement.
He added: “Isolation and embarrassment compound the problem of debt but we are calling today for people to ring and get specialist help from Christians Against Poverty or one of the other free agencies like Citizens Advice or Consumer Credit Counselling Service.
“Don’t wait until things get worse.”
Christians Against Poverty, which now has 160 centres around the UK, is a charity which partners its financial know-how with the care of the local church.
Sunderland’s centre opened in April this year in partnership with Bethshan Church, in Park Road.
For more information, call 01274 760720, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.capuk.org