Christians Against Poverty was founded by John Kirkby in Bradford in 1996. John believed God was calling him to leave his career in financial services and use his knowledge of the industry to help the poor.

Since then, CAP has rapidly grown its Debt Centre Network and expanded its services to tackle the causes of debt and poverty too. As well as CAP Debt Help, people are now helped into employment through CAP Job Clubs. Others are enabled to get control of their habitual dependencies through CAP Fresh Start and a brand-new service, CAP Life Skills, equips people to live well on a low income. The vision is to bring freedom and good news to the poor in every community through a nationwide network of CAP projects.

I was introduced to CAP by Olive Thompson who runs the Life Skills course for Ballymoney Community CAP.

Olive knew of my involvement with Street Pastors in Ballymoney. As much as Street Pastors provide a very much needed service in the night-time economy, I wanted to be involved more than just picking someone up off the street and either putting them in a taxi or physically escorting them safely home. Olive saw this in me and approached me about CAP Fresh Start.

Street Pastors showed me a need which I believed was not being met. The need for those we encountered on the streets to have the chains of their addictions broken. Fresh Start, under Ballymoney Community CAP, empowers the local church to help people break free from life controlling habits like drinking, smoking, gambling or internet addictions. The weekly groups provide a place of trust and security, where people are offered emotional and practical support, where we don’t depend upon our own strengths our abilities but look to God under the power of the Holy Spirit to minister to and break the chains of addiction. We are always looking for volunteers as Coaches, Befrienders, even caterers for a celebration meal on course completion (COVID restrictions permitting,) but most importantly we need people to pray so that we can know the power of Jesus words in Luke 4:18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.”

Fresh Start commenced on Tuesday 4 th May and will continue weekly in the Connect Centre from
7.30pm until 9.30pm.

Lynn Dysart