PEOPLE in Oldham and Saddleworth at risk of being immersed in unmanageable debt are being encouraged to get in touch with a Christian organisation set up specifically to help them.

The manager of the Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre, Eike Harvey, says there has been drop in the number of people seeking help from the group, which has been running for eight years.

Mrs Harvey said: "During this period we've always been fully booked with a three months waiting list. However, since Covid-19 our numbers have drastically dropped although I am convinced that debt issues have gone up rather than down."

She said she believed the reason for this was that people getting into money trouble were "buffered" by the fact the credit industry is not currently pursuing people.

"Also the there the fact the we can't have face to face meetings at the moment, and they think we are not able to work to help them," she said. "But this is not the case."

She went on: "The help the government is giving with Universal Credit and other schemes is also helping people.

"But in many respects the time to seek help is now, because by the time they find themselves in severe debt, it maybe too late."

The Oldham Christians Against Poverty group is linked to several churches in the town.

Mrs Harvey said: The pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us and sadly many people may find themselves out of work or on severely reduced incomes as a result.

"When income drops, repayments for credit cards, store cards, overdrafts etc, which previously were manageable, become impossible.

"Paying only for essentials becomes the priority and even these are a tremendous challenge. Missed payments rapidly build up into what may seem like a mountain of unmanageable debt.

"Debt stress can be so destructive. It affects family relationships, health and can be isolating. But there is help available.

“We are as committed as ever to supporting our clients during this time as they bravely face even more challenges than usual.

"So if you’re already feeling like you’re becoming overwhelmed by debt, do not put off asking for help. The service is entirely free of charge and available to all, with no minimum or maximum debt requirement."

Appointments are available. Call 0800 328 0006 or visit