The new service called CAP Job Clubs was launched in March in Westminster. Its aim is to equip congregations to train jobless people to become more ready for work and, through employment, tackle hardship faced by the whole household.

CAP’s founder and international director John Kirkby told Christianity magazine, ‘Our evidence ? and that of other debt agencies ? shows a clear correlation between poverty, debt and unemployment. It’s very tough to escape this web of hardship and it can feel very isolating.

‘The point is everyone needs to feel useful. Human beings are hardwired to live for a purpose so unemployment punishes people both financially and emotionally.

‘The good news is the local church is perfectly placed to both spot those in need and offer support and practical skills which will help restore their self-esteem and be better placed to achieve work.’

Job Clubs will take three strands: one-to-one coaching, an eight-week course and social time with other people in a similar situation.

The course will help people to identify their strengths and learn how to communicate them, look for work and interview well. Thirty congregations have already signed up.

Unemployment in the UK is currently running at around just under 8% but among CAP’s clients, it is more like 29% who receive unemployment benefits.

Other debt counselling agencies confirm the link. Step Change (formerly CCCS) said their clients claiming job seekers allowance owed on average £15,412 to five different creditors.

To find out more visit the Christians Against Poverty website

Contact the CAP Job Clubs team: 01274 761 950