Leanne, CAP Debt Centre, Greenwich
Leanne is the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Centre Manager in Greenwich, which is run by a conglomerate of churches to provide not just debt advice, but also a wide range of other services. The centre began during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the need in the community escalated, and the local authority provided two buildings so that nine churches could come together and serve their community.
As individuals meet with Leanne for debt help, there are many other services on hand to holistically support each client, such as CAP Life Skills, a Trussell Trust Foodbank, and a legal advice clinic. The centre is also connected with other partners, such as Safe Families and Street Pastors, providing help where it is needed most.
I spoke with Leanne on the phone, as she told me story after story of those she has helped through the centre, and especially those she has helped through Acts 435. She said that she "couldn't believe how wonderful Acts 435 is" and that it provides a lifeline and opportunity for many.
Mark, pictured with Leanne, has "really been through the wars" as Leanne put it. He had lost his mum, been physically assaulted on his housing estate and had to move home. However, due to the help through CAP, and the provision of a cooker through Acts 435, "his life is really turning around". When first meeting Leanne Mark was cooking over a bowl of boiling water as his cooker didn't work, and Leanne knew that there was a way she could help with that. Mark said that Leanne was the "first person to spend time with [him]", something that clearly had an impact as he went on to find faith in Jesus and joined Leanne's church in Greenwich.
Leanne continued to tell me about Sally, who is dyslexic and was struggling to fill out forms, including those for her Warm Home Discount. Leanne, spent time with Sally, and helped to fill in the forms. She was also able to post an Acts 435 request for her heating costs while they were able to support her in her claim for the Warm Home Discount. Sally said: "No one has ever done anything like this for me, no one has ever done anything nice for me before".
As Leanne spoke it is evident that Acts 435 is an essential part of the centre's toolkit, which helps to provide one-off needs that they wouldn't otherwise be able to support people with. But not only does it provide for these practical needs but Leanne describes that it enables her to go further for those she is meeting, enabling them to have a greater impact for each individual and she has seen "how fruitful it can be".
If your church or local charity would like to add Acts 435 to their toolkit, take a look at how you can partner with us.