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Service helps people become debt-free in pandemic

Pastor Robert Bowie
Five years ago, the Bundaberg Christian Heritage Church in partnership with national charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP), opened a debt centre, where they help people manage their debt with the goal of becoming debt-free.

Five years ago, the Bundaberg Christian Heritage Church in partnership with national charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP), opened a debt centre, where they help people manage their debt with the goal of becoming debt-free.

Since then they have helped countless clients work towards freedom from debt.

One of those people includes Christian Heritage Church Pastor Robert Bowie, who in 2012 reached out to the service to assist with his own debt.

Speaking with Bundaberg Now, Pastor Bowie said he has since become the Centre Manager at the CAP debt centre in Bundaberg to helps others with their journey to becoming debt-free.

“One of the reasons I’m so passionate about it is because CAP really helped me and my family,” Pastor Bowie said.

“In 2012 my wife and I had quite significant personal debt and we’d been trying different ways to get it down, but nothing was working.

“It’s quite incredible the pressure it puts on relationships and families when you’re under financial stress.”

Pastor Bowie said that through the counselling, practical and financial education services that CAP provided, they were able to clear all their debt.

“Once we got in contact with CAP they worked out a plan for us moving forward and negotiated with our creditors and we cleared all our debt by 2016,” he said.

“It was so exciting seeing our statements come in each month and the balance reducing.”

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has been recognised as an international award-winning debt management charity, that works with local churches to release people from a life sentence of poverty, debt and unemployment.

Christian Heritage Church service brings down debt during pandemic

Pastor Bowie said that in Bundaberg alone there were nine families currently using their service and just in the last week one of them became debt free. 

He was concerned that as COVID benefits were reduced, more clients would come forward.

“It’s been such a hard year in a number of respects, but I think it’s going to get harder with those benefits being restricted even more, and that’s why we want to get the word out there that there is help available.”

He said the service was free, non-judgmental and available to everyone.

“We’ve seen all sorts of people come to us – young people with mobile phone contracts, right through to families and people in high paying jobs,” he said.

“It’s so easy to get credit and sometimes people just get in over their head, but we understand life gets messy.

“CAP is always in a great position to be an advocate for these people as they’ve been in the industry for 20 years.

“There’s no strings attached with the Church either, we just recognise that there’s such a need in our community for people who are struggling with financial stresses and what them to know that they’re not alone.”

The Bundaberg Christian Heritage Church also runs money budgeting courses with the next course set for 14 November.

If you are seeking debt help you can contact 1300 227 000 or visit Robert at the heritage Christian Centre on Wondooma Street, Bundaberg.

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