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PEOPLE struggling with overwhelming personal debt are set to get free help from an acclaimed charity opening a new centre in Wigan.

Growing debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is opening 37 new church-based debt centres around the UK – including one at Billinge Family Church on Crank Road.

The opening will mean that Wigan people will be able to enjoy the debt help already offered by neighbouring centres in St Helens, Widnes and Liverpool.

It is some rare good news for people who are struggling to cope with inflation at a 20-year high combined with job losses or frozen incomes putting further pressures on financial commitments that were once easily met.

Wigan’s new centre manager Nanette Hesketh said: “Members of our congregation were becoming more and more concerned about people in our community finding it really tough to keep their heads above water.

“Among them there are those already at crisis point, not eating or sleeping properly with the stress of being hounded for money they don’t have.

“The Bible speaks very clearly about looking after the poor and in 2011 this is what it looks like and we refuse to let them go under.

“We know it’s the hardest thing in the world to ask for help but we want people to know that however bad a situation can look, there is a tried and tested way out and it starts with putting the kettle on, taking a deep breath and then ringing our helpline 0800 328 0006 to speak to someone who really cares.”

CAP offers people a uniquely in-depth, caring service to people with spiralling personal debt. Every client is booked in for a visit from the local centre manager in their own home; all the bills and outstanding mail from creditors are removed and responded to by CAP’s Bradford head office.

Then the household is supported and encouraged to combat the isolation many clients say they feel as they tried to cope alone.

The charity’s award-winning service has been described as “unsurpassed” by TV’s Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis and “staggering” by HRH Prince Charles when he recently visited a centre in Peckham, London.

Find out more about the charity at www.capuk.org or for help call 0800 328 0006.