The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has spent time in Shropshire listening to people who are struggling with the cost of living and its consequences.
He travelled to a debt advice centre in Market Drayton run by the charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP). The Archbishop is patron of CAP, which provides free professional debt advice, as well as help with finding jobs and budgeting, through churches across the UK. The charity was set up in 1996.
The debt centre based at the Market Drayton Methodist Church, as well as the Food Bank at nearby St Mary’s church which is well established. It has been going for nine years and has helped hundreds of local people get back on track with their finances and relieve some of the stress when living on a low income. Meanwhile, the Job Club gives people the confidence and skills to get back into work.
The Archbishop also spoke to the volunteers who give one-to-one advice on a weekly basis, including the Debt Centre Manager, Carolyn Lawrence. Mrs Lawrence said: “It’s amazing that the Archbishop has come here to meet a mix of clients and helpers to hear on-the-ground stories. It’s such an honour.
“Parts of Market Drayton are in the top 10% areas of deprivation in the country so there’s a lot of social need. Public transport links are very poor here which makes it hard for people to find jobs here.
“People here have told the Archbishop about their personal stories and struggles whether it’s health, financial, bereavement or housing and he listened.”
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Every human being faces something beyond their control. The cost of living and deprivation continue to push people into hugely difficult situations. One of the reasons I love CAP is they deal with everyone’s needs. They are interested in what’s happening in people’s everyday lives, whether it’s debt, unemployment or something else”. “It’s such a privilege to be their patron and support the vital work they do in churches and communities around the country.”
Report and images courtesy the Shropshire Star 16.09.23.