CHURCHES and Christians have been successful in helping people to get through the cost-of-living crisis, research by Christians Against Poverty (CAP) suggests.
A survey of 2200 people, conducted by YouGov in July, asked “to what extent churches and other Christian organisations had been effective in helping people during the rise in cost of living”. More than half (55 per cent) of those polled felt that local communities had benefited positively. Forty-two per cent described the Christian contribution as “effective”, and a further 13 per cent saw it as “very” or “extremely effective”.
The results, released this week, covered the UK, with 84 per cent of respondents in England, nine per cent in Scotland, five per cent in Wales, and the remaining three per cent in Northern Ireland.
“Millions of families are facing a worsening cost-of-living crisis this winter. It’s heartbreaking to see that half the people who come to us for help don’t have enough income to cover their most basic needs,” CAP’s director of fund-raising, Alex Jones, said. “Making sure they have enough food and heating, and can keep a roof over their heads is going to be essential this Christmas; so I am asking anyone who can to support our appeal.”
A CAP debt coach, Thomas, said: “The desperation I see this winter is really distressing. More than a quarter of people are skipping meals because of the cost of living. One in ten people leave their gas or electricity off because they can’t afford the bills. You don’t forget a Christmas spent in poverty.”
He said that CAP had transformed his life when, alone one year and able to afford only instant noodles for a meal, he had received crucial support.
“I reached out to CAP for help, and Joanne, the debt coach from the local church, came to visit. Joanne brought me an emergency-support package. Emergency packages can include food, phone top-ups, gas and electricity money, school uniform, prescription payments . . . whatever you urgently need. My life was turned around, and with help others’ can be, too.”
CAP’s Christmas fund-raising appeal target is £50,000, for its emergency-support packages to those most in need. The packages are distributed through churches.