Christians Against Poverty development manager Paul Eardley
(left) joins Dunedin Debt Counselling Centre manager Jo
Knowles, and Musselburgh Baptist Church pastor Mike Tonks
to launch the local service. Photo by Brenda Harwood.
''Walking the journey'' with people as they become
debt-free is the focus of a Dunedin debt-counselling service.
Launched last month at Musselburgh Baptist Church, the
Christians Against Poverty (Cap) Debt Counselling Centre is a
response to debt and poverty.
Cap Debt Centre manager Jo Knowles, of Dunedin, said the free
service was a partnership between the international Cap
organisation and Musselburgh Baptist Church.
It is one of a growing network of centres throughout New
Zealand, with 29 founded so far.
The service is funded by donations, mostly from churches.
Nationally, the organisation is working with 565 families and
managing more than $9.5 million in debt on their behalf.
In the past six years, $14 million in debt has been repaid,
with 173 families becoming debt-free.
''We take a holistic approach to the situation, so we look at
helping people to get out of debt as well as building ongoing
relationships,'' Mrs Knowles said.
There was definitely significant poverty in Dunedin, with
many people struggling on low incomes.
The service helped people manage debt by providing a personal
debt coach supported by credit liaison officers at Cap head
office in Auckland and local volunteer support workers.
Launching the Dunedin Cap Debt Counselling Centre last month,
national Cap centre development manager Paul Eardley said he
was ''passionate about helping the kids''.
The service prioritised three areas - food, rent and power,
while empowering the client to take charge of their own
For more information, phone Jo Knowles on 021 163-6900, Mike
Tonks on 454-5081 or visit www.capnz.org