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16 April 2015

Archbishop to become patron of debt charity

Archbishop to become patron of debt charity

The Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, is to become the first patron of debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP).

Since his appointment as head of the Church of England in March 2013, Justin Welby has been outspoken about poverty and, in particular, the availability of easy credit from payday lenders. He made comments about payday lenders, such as Wonga, and his commitment to support the credit union movement and other services helping people out of financial distress.

CAP hosts a network of hundreds of churches tackling poverty and debt in communities across the UK. Archbishop Justin said: "CAP deals in helping people to get free of the prison of debt, and it's something I feel passionately about.

"They are serious, highly professional, deeply committed and above all they will treat you as a human being of infinite value, loved by God, who just needs some help to find your own way forward."

Archbishop Justin had his most in-depth, first-hand look at CAP's work during his tour of the Bristol Diocese in September last year. He visited the Bristol North CAP Debt Centre and spoke with staff and clients about their experiences.

Founder and international director John Kirkby said: "We're delighted and grateful to have the Archbishop as our first ever patron. This is not something I would ever have imagined when I started all this in my spare bedroom in 1996.

"The Church of England is a major player in fighting poverty. Around 20 per cent of CAP services only happen on the ground, in communities, because of committed Anglicans who want to see a change. About 60 of their churches are running debt centres with us, for example."

Last year saw the launch of the Archbishop's initiative #ToYourCredit to promote responsible lending and financial advice set up by his own task group and partner organisations, of which CAP is one.The #ToYourCredit website helps churches and organisations when talking about money and debt issues. It provides links to a range of different services and a hub space where churches can discover a rich breadth of opportunities to serve their local communities.

See Archbishop Welby's full interview here: capuk.org/patron