CAP, of which Welby is a patron, helped 20,000 people this year through its partnership with 579 churches across the UK.
Lives are being transformed through debt charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP), the Archbishop of Canterbury said today, as a new report revealed the overwhelming majority of clients were still debt free years after being helped.
In total, 93 per cent of people who had used CAP’s church-based centres were still living debt free up to five years later.
More than eight in 10 still lived by a budget and almost half (46 per cent) now had savings.
The average annual household income of former CAP clients was just £14,511, but 85 per cent said they felt in control of their finances and 74 per cent had not used credit since becoming debt free.
“It’s easy to imagine that someone living with poor finances will always be in that state, that poverty is too big a problem for us all to tackle,” Archbishop Justin Welby said.
“This report is exciting because it shows that if someone gets the right level of support, they can conquer their debt problems – not just to become debt free but also to stay in the black, without the need for expensive credit, successfully managing their household finances for years to come.
“It tells us that no matter how hopeless a situation can first look. Significant change is possible.”
Its latest report will be launched today in Parliament. It includes a testimony from Kylie, a mum of four who turned to CAP for help after falling into heavy debt and managed to take back control of her finances.
“Working with CAP was a really transformative experience for me,” she said. “Since the Debt Relief Order went through and I became debt free, I have learned how to properly budget and structure my spending. I feel like I have control over my money and that’s new!
“It’s amazing how little changes can make such a difference to your whole life. The children’s dad, Gareth, and I are now back together and welcomed our fourth child in 2014. Our family is so much more settled now and you can just tell we’re all so much happier – we’re always smiling!”
In the foreward to the report, Welby said: “As a society, we have a duty to support those among us who are vulnerable and in need. As Christians, we see this demonstrated most clearly in the life and works of Jesus Christ. CAP embodies this value.
“Having seen them at work and how effective they are, I wanted to become a patron and show them my support. They are highly professional and deeply committed to the work they do to help people of infinite value find the way forward. They reach out to the poor and marginalised, work to build community and their work is infused with a deep generosity of spirit.”
Founder and international director of CAP, John Kirkby, said: “In previous surveys, around 94 per cent of our debt clients had described CAP’s service as ‘a great help’ or even ‘lifechanging’ and now we see exactly why.
“With the unique support of the centre church – all their prayers and love – people take the skills they have learned through the debt process and change their future. Many find or renew their faith in God but they make huge practical steps forward too like paying for family birthdays, buying furniture without credit, going on holiday and learning to drive. One client even paid for a wedding!
“It’s hugely motivating for us and all our frontline heroes in the churches across the UK.”