Saturday, 23 October 2010

Debt Advice

Debt and benefit advice is provided free from “Frontline”, a new debt and benefits advice service in Camberley, which is a charity registered with The Office of Fair Trading.

debt adviceGovernment cuts, the cost of living, redundancy, and pay freezes are all concerning. More than that, they impact us all. Every month when it’s time to pay the bills, it’s getting harder to make your money go further. To give you an idea of the extent of the problem, "debt advice" on Google gets 49,500 searches a month in the UK.

Debt can easily creep up on you, and you feel like you’re on your own, with an incredible weight on your shoulders. Final demands, constant phone calls and threatened court action, are all scary things if you have recently got into an unmanageable situation, where you can’t afford the cost of living.

Now, Camberley has “Frontline”. Frontline recognise that often people get into debt through no fault of their own. They aren’t buying fancy cars, Rolex watches, or clubbing every night. They are genuine people, who are finding it hard to manage in the current financial climate we are in right now.

Frontline in Camberley has a team of trained volunteers, who you can make an appointment with, so that they can help you get back on track.

benefits advice I spoke with Charles Bruce, who is one of the advisers at Frontline in Camberley, about the service they provide.

Why is Frontline a free service?

“We are a Christian based organisation. We see a need in the community for help of this sort, and we’re anxious to provide it. By definition, our clients don’t have any money, so trying to charge them for this service  would be counter-productive. We are funded elsewhere, and this service is totally free, and confidential.”

Can you tell me more about what help you can provide people in debt, or on low wages?

“We can help people who can’t manage their debts, who are deeply in debt, who are in trouble. This trouble might take the form of bailiffs, evictions, inability to pay their council tax, all sorts of things. These are just the external symptoms, the real problem is the debt. One of the ways we can do it is by helping them to be sure they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to, which quite often can make a big difference to the way they handle their debts. We can get between people and their creditors, and take the load off them. We can take away the constant telephone calls and threats from bailiffs, and give them time, with our help, to organise how they are going to deal with the problem.”


“Our service is free, we welcome anyone of any religion, sex, denomination, ability, disability; everybody is welcome. If someone should express an interest in Christian pastoral care, we can provide that, but if they don’t, we won’t. It’s as simple as that.”

free debt advice This might sound like a stupid question, but how do I know when I‘m in debt?

“…Most people get into debt, because like many people in our society today, they live very near the financial edge. That is, their income covers their expenditure each week or month, but only just. This can happen to quite well paid people as low paid people. Expenditure does tend to match income. If anything changes in their circumstances; a redundancy is the biggest… or their partner leaves, or their lease terminates and the rent increases, or even an unexpected baby. All these things can tip someone from their income matching their expenditure, to being insufficient for their expenditure. Unless addressed, the debt grows and grows and becomes a big problem.”

Admitting to having a problem with debt, is very difficult for most people. It’s very embarrassing. They try not to admit to it, to ignore it. Generally you can ignore it for quite some time. You can charge things up on your credit card, take out loans etc.. but eventually it will catch up with you. A big event normally sparks the problem. Someone is threatened with the bailiffs, or they can’t pay their council tax, or the rent. That’s usually when people turn to Frontline. I would advise people to speak to us sooner rather than later, but human nature being what it is, that doesn’t happen often.”


“Whatever questions you might have, we will help you find the answers!”



You can get in touch with Frontline to make an appointment, for free, confidential advice, in the following ways:-

By Phone: 07880 711730 (24 hour message line)


Or write to:

Camberley Frontline

St Paul’s Church Centre

Crawley Ridge

Camberley GU15 2AD

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Let’s Go Glow 2010 – The Free Party for 4-11 Year Olds

paint ‘Glow’ is our annual free alternative to a Halloween party, for children aged between 4-11 (under 4's welcome, but are the responsibility of parents). Glow is a fun formula of games, craft activities, worship and a short God slot.  Children are encouraged to dress up in something bright, shiny and sparkly.
2008_1031Glow0063 “The kids have a great time doing the activities, but also love to be part of the large crowd having fun together. We usually dress up as super heros too. Last time we were the Batman family” – Andy Salt


So where’s the catch? Why is it free?

No catch. We love having fun, and have a great children and youth team at St Paul’s. Traditionally, Halloween is celebrated, which consists of dressing up as ghouls and ghosts, and generally very unpleasant characters in order to ward off harmful spirits. However, at St Paul’s, we prefer to celebrate All Saints (in honour of all the saints), which occurs around the same time as Halloween, but is a much more positive and appropriate event. So that’s what we’ll be doing as part of Glow 2010. The party is funded by our children’s ministry.
GlowAll You Need To Know
What: Glow Party (Halloween Alternative)
When: Saturday 30th October between 4pm and 6pm
Who: Children aged 4-11 (under 4's welcome, but are the responsibility of parents).
Why: Because it’s fun, and we love to celebrate!
Where: St. Paul's Church, Crawley Ridge, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 2AD

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Camberley Day of Action

poverty Helping people and not judging. That’s one of the key things Jesus told us to do. St Paul’s have decided to take this seriously. Of course pretty much everyone at St Paul’s is already involved with their own charity work, whether it is giving, helping or managing. However St Paul’s felt that working as a church to help the needy would spread the message that we are serious about doing Jesus’ work. On Saturday 16th October St Paul’s will be holding a Day of Action, where groups of people will be taking on projects in the community. Projects include painting and decorating, gardening, collecting litter and laying a patio.
john It is shocking just how much poverty there is in Camberley. There are families who are struggling to make ends meet and really don’t have the time or energy to think about painting a bedroom or carpeting a landing. John Looby, Chairman of St Vincent De Paul (an international charity that is focused on providing for the poor) knows this more than anyone since he spends 24/7 helping those in need. I was shocked to discover SVP Camberley recently helped a person who had taken shelter under a bridge. They were homeless, cold and hungry. In Camberley? Are you sure?    Sadly, this is the truth.  “At SVP Camberley, we work hard to provide whatever is needed from furniture to food. Monetary gifts are great and yes we are always in need of that but often a helping hand is just as good,” say’s John, “For example last Saturday morning a few of us gathered to clean up some oven’s and freezers urgently needed for some young families. An hour or two is often all that is needed.”

besom_logo Grace has been working with the Besom for a number of years. She helped set up the Camberley office which consists of a telephone,a garage and a corner of a warehouse to store furniture, clothing and anything needed to set up a home. The Besom is a Christian charity that works on Jesus’ principal of helping those in need by facilitating churches to help the poor. She works closely with St Vincent De Paul to help those in Camberley. “It makes good sense to work together,” she says, “We are all fighting the same cause; eliminating hardship and providing for those in need.”

Both the Besom and SVP Camberley are among the organisations who have provided projects for the St Paul’s Day of Action. Other Camberley churches are also getting involved on this day and we hope that this will become a huge annual event for all the churches in Camberley together.
becca Becca Mayne, Head of Social Transformation at St Paul’s and Coordinator of the Day of Action is passionate about helping the community and explains St Paul’s mission like this; “We are helping those in need in our community because this is what God commanded us to do. We do this, not to evangelise but because Jesus reached out to those in need and we want to do the same. We reach out with joy and love in our hearts and not out of duty.” Last year Becca took her 10 year old daughter Acacia with her to visit the projects. “Acacia saw how tough some people’s lives are. It really made an impression on her and made her realise how fortunate we are and that we should be thankful for our blessings.”

So Saturday 16th October is the Day of Action and groups of people will be spending their time painting, gardening and hopefully brightening up people’s lives. The rewards are amazing as you see the impact of a few hours work on people’s lives and on neighbourhoods. “Neighbour’s passing by were curious as to why a group would be prepared to give up a day of their time to tidy up a garden,” say’s Becca speaking of last year’s day of action, “The children came over to chat and one set of neighbours even rang the press to tell them what was going on!”

Follow live updates on this years Day of Action on Twitter and Facebook on Saturday 16th October.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Ping Pong – Autumn Sport

tab1 So the Autumn has hit us, with wind, rain and cold weather. Too windy for tennis, but not for table tennis!
“Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight, hollow ball back and forth using table tennis rackets.” - Wikipedia
St. Paul's run free table tennis for adults of all levels, on Monday evenings between 7.30 & 9.30pm. We have around 10 players (men and women).  Most players had not played for some time, but have surprised themselves at how quickly their touch returned.  The evenings are great fun, the standard is good and fairly even across the membership resulting in many close games.  We play the old scoring method to 21 and mainly doubles to avoid long sit outs.  Singles are played as and when numbers dictate.
We are looking for new players so whether you currently play or used to why not come and have a try out.  There is no need to feel embarrassed if you are worried about whether you are good enough. You are welcome to come along and meet us and judge for yourself before playing.  tab2
To find out more, call Graham on C. 23675 or email
You might also be interested in joining our walking group, more info here.