Mike first heard about Faithworks CMA at a Rotary Club meeting. Through many years’ involvement with SSAFA (the armed forces charity), he had met many soldiers and their families in severe debt but had felt unable to do anything about it.
Mike explained: “I thought volunteering for Faithworks CMA would be the ideal opportunity to find out about the civilian way of doing things while also helping some of my SSAFA clients. This volunteering takes me in a totally different direction, it keeps me busy and it’s good for the clients.”
Since joining in September 2021, Mike progressed through budget coaching and then completed the debt advice courses. When talking about the challenges clients can face, Mike said: “I’ve got one client with no debt at all but on her credit report there was a County Court Judgement. She was also refused a claim for Universal Credit which we have since supported her with appealing.
She is disabled and comes to rely on people here. So the support she has received from both the CMA team and Blandford Food Bank+ is essential. Some simply need a bit of a hand and others are in severe debt. We also had one client with over £30K worth of debt, he went bankrupt – he was [relieved] because all the stress has been taken away.“
The CMA team are available to meet with people at Food Banks supported by Faithworks across Dorset. This enables people to speak with someone more easily when visiting the Food Banks and ensures more fluid support between the two services.
Mike said: “The whole team works towards benefitting the clients. Whether it be food parcels, debt, or both of these things. I’ve found that people are quite reluctant to talk about their problems.
I know it’s a difficult thing to talk about if you’re heavily in debt. But once you’ve broken the ice, recorded their debt and advised what can be done about it, then they go away smiling.”
We are looking for more volunteers to join our CMA team as Budget Coaches and Debt Advisors (no previous experience is necessary). You can find out more on our volunteer vacancies page below.