PEOPLE struggling with debt are being urged to seek help.

Bolton’s branches of charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) launched the Don’t Wait campaign as figures reveal nine million people are suffering with debt but just one fifth seeks help.

Diane Ball, Bolton North centre manager, said: “A lot of people just don’t realise that free help is available.

“And yet, there are various avenues like our charity CAP, Citizens Advice and the phone-based free ones like StepChange.”

The charity said the majority of people say they have waited more than three years to contact them but, when they did, 94 per cent described it as “a great help” or “life-transforming”.

Mrs Ball said: “It can be hard to admit help is needed but debt is very difficult to escape without professional assistance.

"The debt charities like ours have the advantage on the individual because we are talking to the banks and credit card and loan companies all day.

“This campaign is about taking that first step, knowing noone will pass judgement. We just want to look forward to the future.”

People in need of help can contact the charity by phone and Mrs Ball, who works from the centre in St Peter's Parish Church, Halliwell, says they aim to instil a feeling of hope — vital when more than a third of callers say they are feeling suicidal.

Either she or Anna Cooke, who works at the centre at The Bridge Church, Bradford Street, then visit every client at home where they will collect all their letters and demands.

These documents are then sent to CAP’s UK head office where experts negotiate with every creditor on their behalf.

n For more information, visit or call 0800 328 0006.