WHEN you live with narrow margins financially, it is all too
easy to get into debt - and much harder to get out of it. That is
why the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd
Christopher Foster (left in photo), has designated those
suffering from debt and food-poverty as the subject of this year's
Bishop's Lent Appeal.
The money that is raised will be split between the charity
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) and the local foodbanks. In too
many cases, people's situations have been made worse when they have
gone to payday lenders, or online firms that promise to help with
their debts, but then they find that the interest charged, or the
fees, simply makes matters worse.
Gary Miles (right in photo) and his partner, Chris Fry,
had to sell jewellery and other valuables to buy food. They tried
an online firm to help them manage their debts, but were charged so
much in fees that little of the debt was paid off. It was only when
staff and volunteers from their local CAP offered free advice and
support that they were able to work out a realistic budget, and
negotiate affordable payments with each creditor.
It is such people as Mr Miles and his partner, and Zeta Bishop
(centre), who is in debt because her husband's work is
seasonal, that the Bishop wants to help. His Lent Appeal usually
raises about £20,000. He is hoping that donors from across the
diocese will be very generous this year.