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Low Income and Rising Debt is Devastating Lives in Guildford

Published on: 28 May, 2023
Updated on: 1 Jun, 2023

Westborough United Reformed Church, in partnership with other Christian churches in Guildford, works with debt help and anti-poverty charity.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is launching its new Taking on Poverty report and campaign aimed at helping people in Guildford and across the South East who are struggling to afford the basics and stay out of debt.

The report has found its clients in the South East on average owed more than £12,100 at the peak of their debts as costs rise putting more pressure on people’s finances.

CAP’s Guildford debt centre manager Jane Seals said: “Rising food prices are leaving mums and dads unable to afford to feed their kids. Sky high energy bills mean that pensioners and people with serious or terminal illnesses are scared to put on the heating.

“Single people are waking up in the night with anxiety attacks over money because their income is so low they’re falling deeper into debt.

“This is the reality of poverty and it’s devastating the lives of our friends, families, colleagues, neighbours and people in our community here in Guildford.

“At Christians Against Poverty and Guildford churches we are positively fighting against poverty in our area by offering free practical help, such as emergency supplies of food and energy top ups to those in crisis and free debt help to anyone in need.

“CAP’s landmark report highlights the desperate struggles our clients are facing right now. As part of our Taking on Poverty campaign we are asking local people to join us in tackling poverty here in Guildford, the South East and across the UK.”

47% of the money owed by a typical CAP client in the South East is due to priority debts.

CAP’s Taking on Poverty report has found in the South East people with £12,100 at the peak of their debts would take them on average 11 years to repay their debts without help.

On average the report found they had 12 different debts, that can mean up to 12 different organisations could be chasing them for payment, creating huge financial stress.

Worryingly, 47% of the money owed by a typical CAP client in the South East is due to priority debts. These are often for essentials like rent arrears, mortgage, gas and electricity or council tax debts.

Jane Seals added: “Behind these stats are real families and individuals in desperate need who we are meeting to support everyday.

“Whether it’s helping us raise awareness on social media, volunteering, donating to CAP or maybe even taking on a fun fundraising challenge. There’s lots of ways you can play your part in tackling poverty in our area. Contact us for a chat to find out more about CAP’s life-changing work in Guildford and how you can help us.”

CAP recognises people with differing circumstances will be able to contribute in different ways. For that reason it has created three simple and easy ways you can support its  work.

Sign up to CAP’s newsletter at: and help raise awareness by following and sharing its social media content. Search for ‘Christians Against Poverty’ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube or Tik Tok.

Support CAP’s urgent fundraiser to help people through this cost of living crisis: or sign up to become a CAP life changer and donate each month.

Connect with your local CAP service to find out more about how you can help locally to change people’s lives. Register your interest by emailing

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