Graham Haldane, Clitheroe’s Debt Centre manager, said: “We know that everyone’s feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis right now, but if you’re already on a low income, the strain is relentless - plus there’s the added anxiety over future rises in living costs.”
CAP has been offering free debt-help, along with emotional and practical support, to people across the Ribble Valley over the past 11 years. “People fall into debt for a variety of reasons,” Graham added.
“They may have been made redundant, left a job to care for a family member, suffered from a long term illness themselves, or experienced a relationship breakdown - which cuts many household’s income in half.”
A CAP report released this month exposes the growing impact that the cost of living crisis is having on low income households in the Ribble Valley and beyond, trapping them into debt. CAP’s To The Edge report reveals that:
New CAP clients in the North West have a peak debt of over £17,360.
Without free debt help, it would take on average 32 years for a North West household to repay their debts.
“This report shows the reality of the situation for many people,” says Graham. “The cost of living crisis is leaving many families on unsustainable budgets, with little or nothing leftover after covering their basic living costs. People are aware that they could suddenly be plunged into large amounts of debt, and they’re scared.
“The detrimental impact that these kinds of debts have are significant. CAP’s report shows that, unsurprisingly, more people are suffering from depression compared to last year, and more are also experiencing anxiety or panic attacks.
"Most concerningly, the percentage of our clients who tell us they’ve attempted or considered suicide, as a way out of their debt, has risen as well from last year from 28% to 36%. This is heartbreaking, and doesn’t have to be the case - help is available.”
Serious illness led CAP client Nick to leave his paid semi-pro sporting star lifestyle, into unemployment and debt, “I had a brain tumour which was removed, but I lost my mother during that time. I now suffer from terminal Crohn’s disease.
“Previously I had always worked very hard and had everything under control, but I got to the point where I couldn’t even pick up a can of beans or turn on the kettle. I was suffering badly from depression and became suicidal.”
Nick describes how he feels since getting free debt help from CAP, which partners with his local church, “It’s made such a difference. If I had carried on as before, I probably wouldn’t be here now. I couldn’t see a way out. These people will not judge you, they’re just there to help you.”
Graham urges Ribble Valley people: “If you need help to break free from debt, contact debt-help charities like CAP on freephone 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org today. Discover more about Christians Against Poverty through their social media channels.”