A local debt centre has said that it expects to receive more calls for help in the coming weeks than ever before.
Christians Against Poverty, with local debt centres in Lurgan and Mid-Armagh, says that the post-Christmas rush to get finances sorted has begun in earnest.
Rather than the mythical peak known as ‘Blue Monday’ on January 19, the charity actually receives the most calls for debt help on the second Monday in February which this year lands on February 9.
Lurgan Centre Manager, Lorraine Emerson, said: “Every week, the busiest day for debt help calls is a Monday, when people have had time over the weekend to think about their debt and decide to seek help.
“We see a rise in calls during January and February because most people can’t face tackling their finances before Christmas. When these two elements come together, we see our busiest time.”
Already in the first working week of 2015, CAP received 479 calls nationally for debt help. Recent research from CAP has shown that people often struggle for years with personal debt following income changes caused by events such as losing a job or a relationship breakdown.
She added: “Four in ten people believe that no one can help them with their debts, according to some research we’ve done. It can feel like you’ve hit a brick wall but we see ‘impossible’ situations where people get their debts cleared. There are people to help and it can get sorted, however complicated or dire it seems.”
Anyone calling CAP for help rings 0800 328 0006 and are booked in for a home visit from one of the local debt coaches, who spends time learning what has happened and shows a way forward out of debt.
Then all the person’s outstanding bills and letters from creditors are sent to CAP’s head office in Bradford. The charity negotiates with each creditor on behalf of the client and draws up a budget to begin to repay what is owed.
“Anyone having sleepless nights, unable to afford the basics or worried about meeting their rent or mortgage should call us, or one of the other good free debt agencies, and see how we can help,” said Lorraine.
Call CAP on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org