‘I felt called by God to help Islanders in debt’
THREE Islanders are setting up an affiliate of a UK charity which offers support to people struggling with debt.
Christians Against Poverty (Jersey) Limited is being launched by local accountant Malcolm Lewis along with States employee Graeme Stoats and the Rev Martyn Shea, of St Mark’s Church.
Mr Lewis confirmed that it would be run as a limited company – and non-profit organisation – with charitable status and, similarly to CAP UK, would operate through a network of churches that will refer parishioners to the charity.
However, Mr Lewis added that Islanders did not have to have any faith or attend church to speak to them.
‘CAP wants to help people out of debt and be free from the struggles and strains that it causes,’ he said. ‘And we [CAP Jersey] do too.
‘CAP Jersey’s affiliation agreement with the UK headquarters means that it will operate independently, while also abiding by the UK’s policies, systems and logo. In contrast to this, CAP’s international offices – based in Australia, Canada and New Zealand – operate as branches of CAP UK.’
Mr Lewis said his decision to become involved with the charity in 2010 was the result of a calling from God.
‘Mr Shea invited some people from CAP UK over to speak to the congregation in 2010. I felt called by God to join and help so I received training in the UK as a debt counsellor.’
Mr Lewis said he had seen approximately 20 Islanders referred to him and other local counsellors since he became involved with the charity.
He said: ‘We want to work and not compete with local charities such as Citizens Advice and Community Savings because while there is an overlap between the three, we all offer different types of support to people struggling financially.
‘[CAP Jersey] will be coaching Islanders who need help and direction to manage their debt, whereas Citizens Advice Jersey would have a dedicated team that negotiates with creditors on behalf of their clients. Also, Community Savings helps vulnerable people who have been denied a bank account.’
After Mr Lewis and CAP UK agreed that he could set up CAP Jersey, he said he went about recruiting volunteers through local churches.
‘We held training in Jersey for counsellors in October 2017 and I was blown away by how many people we got. In the end we trained approximately 30 new people.’
To get in touch with CAP Jersey, you can call 01534 525575 or email email@example.com.