Partners who can help you set up a Debt Advice service at your church or as an ecumenical partnership

Christians against Poverty (CAP)

CAP offers churches support to become debt coaches. All the formal, financial debt advice management is centrally delivered through CAP’s head office in Bradford.

The partnering church provides the ‘debt coach’ and volunteers to support. Debt coaches are the “friendly first face” drawing alongside those in debt, with the ability to visit “clients” in their home, helping them to gather the right information and then liaise with the specialist team in Bradford. It is not necessary for church debt coaches to have specialist financial or legal knowledge, and all training is provided by CAP.

CAP also provides other resources, such as a Money Courses, a Life Skills course and CAP Job Clubs.

How long does it take?

Approx 3-6 months to set up, which includes employing a debt coach and their induction training. Once running it is a weekly commitment.

How many people does it take?

At least 1 paid debt coach working 2 days a week (can be flexible). Volunteers also needed for home visits- 3 to 4 volunteers ideal

How much will it cost us?

  • Minimum £600 per month (£7200 per year) towards the cost of the specialist team in Bradford.

  • Cost of employing a debt coach as a church member of staff

What will we need to provide?

  • Office space/computer
  • Employment for someone 2-3 days a week
  • Volunteers to help support the debt coach
  • Invitation to a CAP speaker comes to your church to speak about the work

Example of a CAP Debt Centre:

  • Christchurch Roxeth, Harrow
  • St Paul’s, South Ealing
  • Oak Tree, Acton

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Community Money Advice (CMA)

CMA supports churches to set up their own, independent community-based money advice centres. Churches affiliate to CMA and gain access to a range of support services and training from CMA, which is accredited by the Money Advice Service.

CMA works with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and assists centres to become FCA authorised.

The relationship with CMA is that a church runs the debt advice centre and the worker or volunteer(s) become a qualified debt advisor(s). CMA provide ongoing support and advice. Churches can brand the centre as they would like.

How long does it take?

It takes on average 6 months to set up the advice centre including the training required for the debt advisors.

How many people does it take?

Minimum 1 volunteer debt advisor. Some centres employ their debt advisors but most run with volunteers.

There is a significant level of commitment required of training/time to become a qualified debt advisor; this can also happen by shadowing another debt advisor and “on the job” too.

How much will it cost us?

  • £500 joining fee to affiliate to CMA
  • £995 per year renewal fee once debt centre is open
  • Extra costs for ongoing training and conferences which are optional

What will we need to provide?

  • Office Space, computer
  • Safe, private space to meet clients (eg church meeting room)
  • Support for volunteer or employment for 1 worker to train as a debt advisor

Example of a CMA church:

  • St Paul’s, Shadwell
  • Oasis, Waterloo

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Crosslight Advice

Crosslight Advice is an affiliate of Community Money Advice and operates seven branches in London and Kent in partnership with local churches. Crosslight offers another option for churches seeking to provide full-service debt advice whereby a church (or better still, a group of local churches) can partner with Crosslight to jointly run a Crosslight branch.

Each Crosslight branch is a collaboration between Crosslight and the local church/es. Each branch operates as part of Crosslight meaning that all the infrastructure is already in place, with the local church/es providing local accountability, funding, strategic input, volunteers, and pastoral oversight. Representatives from the branches/churches make up the Crosslight charity board. Crosslight offers face-to-face, full casework wrap-around support and will provide that support for as long as an individual requires it, walking the journey with them.

Crosslight also offers budgeting coaching and money course resources for churches to run.

How long does it take?

About 6-9 months for a new branch to fully open, but it will often be possible to start seeing clients locally sooner than this

How many people does it take?

A Branch Manager working minimum two days a week – this can be either on a voluntary basis, or employed by the church. The church will need to provide other volunteers willing to be trained as advisers (usually a team of 5 or 6 would be the minimum)

How much will it cost us?

Approx. £6500 a year which is the churches contribution towards the overall costs of delivering the service in their community, plus any costs if employing a Branch Manager.

What will we need to provide?

  • Office Space, computer
  • Safe, private space to meet clients (eg church meeting room)
  • Active support from church – this is a partnership.

Examples of Crosslight Churches

  • St Paul’s, Hammersmith
  • St Stephen’s, Twickenham

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