Church wipes borough woman's debts

A borough woman is set to appear in a one-hour programme shining a light on poverty-stricken people helped by a religious charity.

Monday, 1st October 2018, 2:55 pm
Updated Monday, 1st October 2018, 4:07 pm
Holly Pelham and Helen Bolton

Holly Pelham, 25, from Leigh will appear in “The Debt Saviours”, which will air on BB2 on Friday, October 5.

Following a childhood in care and a relationship breakdown, Holly was living in fear of bailiffs and a possible prison sentence due to unpaid council tax.

She is visited in her home by Helen Bolton, the Centre Manager of the Leigh Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre, run in partnership with Sports Village Church.

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“As soon as Helen arrived, I practically threw the letters at her,” said Holly. “I was shaking. Helen was absolutely brilliant – we clicked straight away.

“I grew up in care and, at 17, I was put in a flat and left to figure out all the bills on my own.

“The debt started after I’d been living with my ex-partner. I thought she’d been paying the council tax, but she hadn’t.

“I soon started getting letters saying I owed hundreds in council tax.

“Bailiffs were knocking on the door, threatening a warrant for my arrest. I was so scared – I rarely left the house. I’d always have the curtains closed, the door would be locked.”

While Helen’s church began to support Holly, her debts and budget were tackled by the team of more than 300 staff at CAP’s head office in Bradford.

Viewers will see the moving moment when Holly is told she has become debt free.

“When I went debt free, I felt like I’d lifted off the floor. I cried because I knew it was all over. Before, it felt like there was a tonne of bricks on my shoulders but now I feel light.”

While her income is still small – she is looking for work - life has improved dramatically for Holly who says she is always out and about, not hiding any more or feeling afraid.

She has also become a regular at Sports Village Church where she is enjoying being part of the community.

“When I first walked in, it was dead friendly," she said. "I actually liked it. It felt like one big family and I got baptised this year on July 1.”

Helen said: “When I first met Holly she was scared, lonely and depressed, her self-esteem was at rock bottom.

“I told her how she would be welcomed at my church and was thrilled when a couple of weeks later she asked to come along.

“Now I love to see her smiling face every week and laugh with her. My prayer for her now is that she can find fulfilling work.”

For advice or to arrange a visit from CAP call 0800 328 0006 for free or visit