In September and October, we’re hosting a series of eight online sessions, equipping local parish churches to respond to need big and small in their communities as the financial implications of Covid-19 bite.

Why are you doing this?

The implications for household finances, in the wake of Covid-19, the lockdown and recession that has followed are stark.

StepChange, the UK’s leading debt support charity, predict a “debt tsunami” heading our way, with households having debts of over £6 billion directly attributable to the pandemic and lockdown.

  • They estimate that each affected adult has built up an additional £1,076 of arrears and £997 of debt as a result of the unique circumstances thrown up by Covid-19.

  • 20% UK adults, 14 million have been negatively affected by coronavirus on their finances.

  • Since the start of the crisis, 4.2 million people have borrowed money to cover basic bills and making ends meet.

  • Job losses are set to increase, as the furlough schemes end and self employment income support finishes. Nearly 1 million people have taken payment holidays, which end on 31st October 2020.

London is predicted to be affected worse than other areas, due to the high living costs, pressure on housing and the number in low income jobs, who were already struggling before this pandemic hit. Every parish church, across the Diocese, will see the impact of this somewhere across congregations and the wider community.

Whether that’s falling behind on rent, maxing out a credit card to pay bills, losing their income, or having hours cut or less work offered: there will be people in your congregation and community who will lie awake at night, worried about money.

What are you doing to respond?

We know that local churches across the Diocese of London are already reaching out compassionately, supporting and loving their neighbours through this crisis, and that includes helping with money struggles and worries. Many parishes attended our “Helping People with Financial Shock” training at the start of lock down. Many many more are offering formal and informal support with budgeting, credit and debt advice.

But we know there is so much more that will be needed; and many churches who want to respond but don’t know where to start.

“Covid-19: Responding to the Debt Tsunami” is a month of training and events from Capital Mass, to help the church respond to the huge financial struggles post-Covid.

Over 4 weeks we’ll provide 8 online events, covering different topics; each from a church perspective, with both theological grounding and intensely practical ideas and resources to take away.

  • All sessions will be on zoom, with expert special guests who can help us navigate these waters.

  • They’ll be informal, interactive sessions and will be capped at 20 people, to allow people attending to really engage.

  • We’ll hear from our expert speakers and then have time for discussion, reflection, questions and sharing experiences.

  • From simple responses such as knowing where to signpost people; to those who feel called to set up something more significant, such as a debt advice programme, budgeting support or partnership with a credit union, we will cover it all over the month.

  • We will be recording all* sessions, and posting on our website and YouTube so you can catch up at a later date if you’re not able to attend, or a session is full.

*please note: due to confidentiality issues, we are not able to record video from “Session 5: Tackling Loan Sharks” but we hope to have an audio feed.

How do I find out more?

All the details of all the events and booking links are below.

We will also post resources, ideas, films and examples that can be replicated in parishes, as well as links to partner organisations who can support you as the month goes on.

Finally, at the end of the month, we will be putting together a “Toolkit for Churches” that can be downloaded free of charge, to continue this work.

Events and Dates

Session 1: WHY TALK ABOUT MONEY? Wed 16th September, 11am -12pm

Exploring how church can foster a culture of talking about money and the link between money and our mental health

GUESTS:

  • Rev Cassius Francis, Transforming Communities Together
  • Rev Clive Main, Vicar & and Veronica Sharpe, Treasurer, St Barnbabus Homerton

Session 2 : WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT MONEY? Thurs 17th September, 6pm-7pm

Join us to watch a talk given by Bishop Graham Tomlin on what the church has taught on borrowing, lending and how we should deal with money as a society, with time for discussion and reflection afterwards

Session 3: MANAGING MONEY Tues 22nd September, 8pm-9pm

How to run budgeting training & money courses at your church/community

GUESTS:

  • TBA

Session 4: DEBT & MONEY ADVICE Thurs 24th September, 11am-12pm

Exploring how your church or deanery could offer free debt and money advice at a time when so many are in financial crisis

GUESTS:

  • Steve Bolton, Community Money Advice
  • Crosslight Advice, Kensington

Session 5: AVOIDING LOAN SHARKS Tues 29th September, 8pm-9pm

How church can raise awareness of illegal lending and what you can do about it

GUEST:

  • Anna Fraser, Illegal Money lending Team

Session 6: HELPING PEOPLE SAVE Thurs 1st October 2pm-3pm

Setting up local savings clubs as part of church life, connecting with your local credit union, encouraging a culture of savings

GUESTS:

  • Pat Fernandes, Financial Inclusion Manager, Advice4Renters- & Sacred Heart Kilburn
  • Other Guest TBA

Session 7: NAVIGATING UNIVERSAL CREDIT Tues 6th October 11am-12pm

Helping people apply for Universal Credit for the first time, and how we can help those who are navigating the benefit system

GUESTS:

  • Alison Tsang Financial Wellbeing and Debt Lead, Capital Mass
  • Fi Budden, All Souls Ivybridge / St Mary’s & St Lukes Hounslow

Session 8: EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR THOSE IN NEED Wed 7th October, 6pm-7pm

How you can sign up to be an ‘Acts 435’ church so you can give to anyone who’s in desperate financial need

GUESTS:

  • Jenny Herrera; Executive Director, Acts 435
  • Pat Fernandes Acts 435 Advocate, Kilburn