A MUM who found herself homeless with two young sons is inspiring others to seek help.

Melanie Gatis lost her job and then her Lostock home after falling into debt.

However, the 46-year-old has turned her life around after a Bolton church scheme stepped in with help.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) in Bolton is relaunching its Life Skills Course tomorrow which offers advice on how to survive life on a low income.

Mrs Gatis, a mum to twin boys, was in around £110,000 worth of debt when she picked up the phone to CAP.

She explains: “I lost jobs and wasn’t prioritising the right things. I don’t blame anyone else but myself, I would buy my kids trainers rather than pay a bill. Lots of people can relate to it.

“I got into debt and I was behind on my mortgage and everything else, then the bailiffs came round. Because I didn’t have anything to give I just said ‘take what you need’.

“Maybe they could see the desperation in my face or saw the kids at the top of the stairs, but they handed me a card and said ‘maybe these people can help’.

“From ringing CAP it changed my life and changed me as a person.”

Mrs Gatis called the Bolton debt counselling service earlier this year and was visited by CAP debt centre manager Samantha Wolstencroft.

The visit did not prevent Mrs Gatis and her two 13-year-old sons losing their home, but the family was supported through the changes and offered advice on how to manage a low income.

Her hard times follow the loss of her sister Leanne Johnson at the age of 26 from a cardiac arrest in 2015.

Leanne made national headlines after appearing on Jeremy Kyle to seek help after becoming addicted to heroin and crack cocaine and selling her body on the streets.

The help from CAP had such an impact on Mrs Gatis that she has became a regular member of St Peter’s Church in Halliwell, where she now lives with her family and works with CAP to introduce new people to the service.

She adds: “There are lots of people in Bolton who have found themselves in my situation and they don’t like talking about it but I am going to talk about it. Don’t be ashamed to ring them.

“I lost my home and was depressed and drinking bottles of wine at night. It help me stop it that and become a completely different person.

“People kill themselves because of debt, that’s how bad it can get. I was at rock bottom, it was horrible. It doesn’t matter how much debt it is, it’s the effect it has on you.

“Whatever problems you have, whether it is debt or addiction or something else, and don’t know where to turn, CAP can help. It is fantastic.”

The CAP Life Skills Course starts tomorrow at the Hope Centre in Church Road, Johnson Fold. To find out more visit capuk.org.

It teaches people about practical money saving techniques, such as cooking on a budget, living healthily on less, and making money go further, and includes a free lunch.