A BOLTON mother was so shocked by the level of poverty in the town that she quit her job of 23 years as a teacher to work for a charity.

Sam Wolstencroft taught Classics at Bury Grammar School for Girls for over two decades before her drastic career change.

The Harpers Lane, Bolton, resident is now centre organiser for The CAP Centre in Church Road, Halliwell, the local branch of the national charity, Christians Against Poverty.

She explained how she came to make the big decision: "When the charity was set up six years ago I became involved as a volunteer and to see the level of poverty in Bolton was shocking.

"I went to see one client and she asked if I had any food and she spotted a banana in my bag and asked if she could have it.

"After that and when I saw how people were living I knew I had to do something to help."

Two years ago Mrs Wolstencroft took up a part time role at the charity as a debt coach as well as teaching job and it is through that role that she saw what effect the charity is having.

The centre offers regular budgeting courses and Mrs Wolstencroft will be heading up the team that helps people escape overwhelming personal debts.

When the job came up as centre manager it was an opportunity she could not pass on.

The 45-year-old said: "I knew that the time was right and it was something that I should do. I was more excited than apprehensive about the change but everyone has been very supportive.

"I have taken a pay cut to do the job so we have had to tighten our purse strings but my husband has been very supportive.

"Everyone knows that it is a very worthwhile cause."

Bolton's branch of the charity is one of 306 all across the UK, giving face-to-face help to some of Britain's most desperate and isolated people, a third of whom describe themselves as suicidal.

Mrs Wolstencroft said she is looking forward to helping people.

She added: "I'm looking forward to helping transform people's lives. A lot of the people are at their most vulnerable when we first go in there, they are at their lowest ebb.

"Sometimes the process takes a couple of years but we hope we can get people debt free and lift their depression."

For more information about CAP at www.capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006.

To get involved locally contact Mrs Wolstencroft on 07934716509.