Gail, Ivy Church Manchester
Gail has been an Acts 435 Advocate for around three years, just after she started as the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre Manager at her church, Ivy Church, in South Manchester. After signing up, which she said is very straightforward to do, she posted her first requests with support from the Acts 435 Head Office team!
She goes onto explain that she mostly uses Acts 435 for families and individuals that she meets through working for CAP. Most frequently she posts requests for the £90 Debt Relief Order fee, which is the fee needed to help someone to become free from their debt through a legal term known as a Debt Relief Order. Gail says, " although it may not sound like a lot of money to many people for some of my clients on a very tight budget it could take months, or even years, to save £90. Numerous times CAP clients have been able to go debt free because donors have given to be able to let this happen. It is wonderful to see people go "debt free" and have a fresh start due to the generosity of others."
We asked her of any specific stories that Gail has experienced through being an Advocate, and she went on to say: "I love the variety of situations we have been able to help people through Acts 435. A lady who was on a very tight budget and working with CAP was given contact visits with her daughter. She had to take her daughter out for the afternoon but couldn't afford to travel there or do anything nice with her. The request was met and she didn't have to worry that she couldn't afford to see her daughter."
She also put in "a request for a gentleman who had been homeless for years and was really happy to have a home to stay in but had not have any new clothes for a long time. A grant from Acts 435 meant he could get some new clothes for himself."
Through her work with Christians Against Poverty and Acts 435, Gail explains that she has seen many people become members of her church congregation. She has also had a really positive experience of being an Advocate. She says "the Acts 435 team are so helpful and supportive and helped post my first request when I wasn't so sure what I was doing. There is a little bit of admin to do but it really doesn't take too much time, for all the help it can give to people we support. I loved attending the Acts 435 Advocate Gathering in York recently [our annual conference for Advocates]."
When we then asked her what she would say to someone who was thinking of becoming an advocate; "Don't hesitate! There is no negative to being an advocate."
If you would like to Join Us in becoming an Advocate, take a look at our website: www.acts435.org.uk/join