But some people in our city have a far more serious thing to worry about. It is a worry that does not go away. It niggles each day, it can grow into a permanent anxiety and fear. Worry about money.
It is so encouraging that in the past week a new campaign has been launched all about the support and advice available for those struggling to make ends meet in our city.
‘Worrying about money?’ is a green leaflet and big posters, being displayed in every foodbank, school, GP surgery and library in Sheffield Inside are simple steps to find out where to get more help. Tackling various issues like suddenly having no money; a gap in benefits; money not stretching far enough each week; or long-term debt and loans.
The initiative is co-sponsored by the council, food-aid network, VAS, Citizens Advice, Trusell Trust (behind foodbanks) and Together for Sheffield. Their aim is to try and connect with those in financial difficulty before they resort to crisis aid, or go into unmanageable debt. It is fantastic to see this level of joined-up thinking, and shared funding, to spread this message of hope and help.
As a church minister I’ve had first-hand experience of the transformative difference that tailored debt advice can have. We ran and funded Sheffield’s first Christians Against Poverty (CAP) debt advice centre. I vividly remember visiting a home, listening to a family’s story of how their debt had grown beyond what they could afford to repay. A story of unpaid bills piling up, unopened because of the fear they produce. That sense of a sinking heart as debt grows, seemingly with no way out.
CAP very successfully journeys with people to become debt free, providing a simple comprehensive weekly budget and a path to repayment, even if it takes years. I know that CAP staff celebrate big-time every time a household becomes debt free. It is a picture of how Jesus sets people free from the burden of their sins and sorrows, when we come into friendship with God.
If money is a worry for you today, you are not alone and there is help and support available.