Local People urged to do ‘Christmas without Credit’

A FREE local debt counselling service is calling on people in South Bucks to save and stay in the black this Christmas.

The warning comes from Nigel Gordon, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre Manager, as the countdown to the festivities begins. Run by Emmanuel Church, Chesham, in partnership with CAP and other churches in the area, the centre opened five years ago it has helped more than 150 people with over 50 so far becoming debt free.

Nigel Gordon, CAP Debt Centre Manager, said: “With personal borrowing on the rise, we are warning people to plan what they are going to spend this Christmas and save as much as they can. This way, with 100 days to go they can enjoy a Christmas without credit.

“Every year we see people whose finances were already fragile but too much Christmas spending pushed them over the edge. It doesn’t have to be that way if you start early. Just saving £5 per week now will give you £75 to spend on presents and food.

“Of course, we’re missing a trick if we think Christmas is only about spending money. Memories are not about which label we buy, they are made by spending time together with family and friends. Once you’ve started to prepare, you can get that perspective instead of the usual last minute panic that can result in credit and the worry that follows.”

All debt clients are visited in their home by members of the local CAP centre who explain the service face-to-face and collect their paperwork. Meanwhile, specialist teams at CAP head office negotiate with creditors and create a workable budget enabling each person to go debt free.

Nigel Gordon said: “If you are struggling to pay the bills, and you’re being chased for money you don’t have, please let us help you. One phone call could be the difference between a merry Christmas or a miserable one.

CAP’s services are available to everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background.