A QUALIFIED teacher who quit her job to help people in financial difficulties is urging people not to suffer in silence and seek help.

Sam Wolstencroft is the Bolton North centre manager for Christians Against Poverty (CAP), a celebrated charity which offers debt counselling services across Britain.

Sam said there has been fewer referrals during the pandemic and wants to remind people that free help is available locally.

She said: “Help is available in Bolton for those who need it.

“As we come out of the pandemic and into a time of increased redundancies and unemployment, there will be even greater need for our service.”

Based out of St Peter’s Church, Halliwell, the centre was launched in 2010 during the recession.

In times before coronavirus, the charity offered services including home visits, lunch clubs and face-to-face sessions with clients to help them get their finances in order.

Although her team of volunteers have continued working remotely during the pandemic, Sam says that “it is not the same” – as it is sometimes more difficult for people to open up in remote settings.

CAP has two centres in Bolton – the one which Sam manages, and another which operates from The Bridge Church on Bradford Street.

In November, the Bolton North centre celebrated its 10th anniversary of helping hundreds of residents sort out their finances.

Sam said: “Looking back we knew that there was a need in the area.

“We were just blown away by how much we were needed when the credit crunch hit.

“Since then, we have helped more than 500 people with evictions and stopped repossessions, saved relationships from breakdown - and lives from suicide."

125 families are now ‘debt free,’ according to the charity.

And this year, staff and volunteers will be taking part in a number of fundraising events so that the charity can continue helping people.

Along with some friends, Sam will go wild camping up Scafell Pike when coronavirus restrictions lift, to raise some much-needed funds for the charity.

Sam added: “It’s an amazing position to be in and sometimes very challenging too.

“We see people often at the lowest point but it’s a great joy to see that burden taken away.”

If you are struggling with debt and need help, contact CAP on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org.