| 15.3°C Belfast

The caring car sleep-over

The staff and supporters of Christians Against Poverty (CAP) centres in north Belfast, Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and east Belfast have spent a night in their cars as part of a national sleep-out to highlight the misery of spiralling debts.

The event which took place on Saturday, October 23, was organised “to show isolated people in debt that someone cares and that a hope and solution are available, no matter how bad the situation.”

Belfast East CAP Centre Manager Jim Fleming said: “Clients have told us how sometimes, when the fear of visits and phone calls from creditors become too much, the car seems the only option. For others sleeping in the car is what happens when their home is repossessed or they are evicted from rented accommodation.

“Sleeping in our cars in the church car park at Carnmoney Presbyterian was a bit of a crazy thing to do, especially on such a cold night, but new statistics show how much people are suffering with the burden of unmanageable debt so we urgently need to get the message out that help is there and to get in touch.

“Almost 75 per cent of people we work with have to visit their GP because of the stress of their debt situation, 30 per cent regularly miss meals and 38 per cent see suicide as the only way out of the situation.

“Undoubtedly these figures will only get worse in light of last week’s spending review.”

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