CMA: Community Money Advice
Founded in 2003, CMA is a national charity that has enabled churches and community groups to establish local, free to client, face to face debt advice services, through the provision of a range of services including: industry standard training; FCA compliant sample policies and procedures; a Freephone Adviceline; regional Operations Support Managers; administration software and information resources. CMA is committed to supporting churches and other community groups with a vision to help people overcome their money problems and make a fresh start on a stable financial footing free from the blight of indebtedness.
CMA is inspired by the compassion God has shown to us, and driven by compassion for others, noting that the Bible speaks eloquently on the subject of money and helping those in financial trouble as well as in the depths of poverty.
CMA has a network of 158 affiliated advice centres across the United Kingdom. Each year these centres help thousands of people escape from the blight of indebtedness by providing free, unconditional, fully confidential advice and practical support to people from all walks of life. Advice is specific to each client's needs: advisers will give as much time and support as required until debts have been repaid and financial stability achieved; whilst the whole process also includes developing good money management skills.
CMA already has three successful centres in Wales (see below) but is working to increase its representation in the Nation. With this in mind a Support Manager has been appointed to work in South Wales, as well as a Welsh first language ambassador to work with the North West & North Wales Support Manager in the north and mid Wales core Welsh language territories. 2016 will see the launch of a CMA Cymru project similar to that recently undertaken in Scotland, praying for real growth to accompany that work. The Salvation Army also anticipate opening a number of CMA centres in South Wales, starting with Newport and Cardiff.
CMA believes that its unique model - which offers unlimited face to face consultation time with a qualified adviser, across years if necessary, including teaching clients to manage a household budget - is highly appropriate to the needs of many debt-afflicted people in Wales, and are trusting God to open the doors for CMA to take its proportional place alongside CABs, CAP and other alternative services across the country.
CMA Centres in Wales
Antioch Money Advice Centre has been in existence for 10 years and is run by Alan who the current CMA Chair of trustees. There is a core of advisers who have been there for many years and client numbers are steady. They network very well in both the town and surrounding areas and are currently looking to relocate from the church into a town centre location where other community support services will also be located. One of their advisers has specialist benefits and tax knowledge and is also an Approved Intermediary for Debt Relief Orders, which brings extra services to their centre, endorsing the holistic nature and ethos of CMA centres.
Christian Money Advice Rhyl has been a CMA centre for the last 8 years and is currently seeing a renewed emphasis on growth as they look to increase their capacity and services they can provide for their clients. Traditionally a “low key” centre with small numbers of clients, they have continued to operate with just one or two advisers and a handful of clients. However, 2016 has seen them open a new satellite centre in Abergele where two new advisers are permanently located and will continue to provide the excellent debt advice service that has served Rhyl for many years.
One of our newer centres in North Wales, Flintshire Debt Advice Centre (based in Mold) has been seeing clients for just over a year. There is a foodbank within their premises, which will provide a natural source of clients for the debt advice centre They have continued a low key service due to the original manager stepping down after a few months and are currently being supported by the other centres in the region and the CMA Operations Support Manager. They have a vision to provide debt advice in every town in the county of Flint and CMA is actively supporting them in this.
CMA is recognised by the Cinnamon network, and churches starting a CMA project in Wales may be eligible for a Cinnamon micro-grant of up to £2,000 – see www.cinnamonnetwork.co.uk/micro-grants-wales.