Archbishop Justin Welby, leader of the Church of England, is to become the first patron of debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty. The charity has grown in nearly 20 years from humble beginnings to a network of hundreds of churches tackling poverty and its causes in communities across the UK. CAP deals in helping people to get free of the prison of debt and it’s something I feel passionately about, said the Archbishop in an interview. Having seen them at work and how effective they are, I wanted to be a patron and to support them in any way I could. Archbishop Welby had his most in-depth, first-hand look at CAP’s work during his tour of the Bristol Diocese in September last year. He visited the Bristol North CAP Debt Centre and spoke with staff and clients about their experiences. Now, as he takes up his patronage, he has been filmed encouraging people to support CAP and be confident in them if they need help. They are serious, highly professional, deeply committed and above all they will treat you as a human being of infinite value, loved by God, who just needs some help. Founder and International Director John Kirkby said: We’re delighted and grateful to have the Archbishop as our first ever patron. This is not something I would ever have imagined when I started all this in my spare bedroom in 1996. The Church of England is a major player in fighting poverty. Around 20 per cent of CAP services only happen on the ground, in communities, because of committed Anglicans who want to see a change. About 60 of their churches are running debt centres with us, for example. Since his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury in March 2013, Justin Welby has been outspoken about poverty and, in particular, the availability of easy credit from payday lenders. Last year saw the launch of the Archbishop’s initiative To Your Credit to promote responsible lending and financial advice set up by his own Task Group and partner organisations, of which CAP is one.

See Archbishop Welby’s full interview here:

Daz HewittArchbishop becomes 1st Patron of CAP