Charity has helped those in need for two decades

editorial image

A charity that supports people living in poverty across the district has marked its 20th anniversary.

The Community Awareness Programme (CAP) opened its doors to clients past and present and welcomed members of the community to witness its work at a birthday party open day on Tuesday.

For two decades it has provided food, housing support, clothing, and advice and assistance to those in need across Wakefield.

Project manager Kevin Dobson said: “I don’t like calling it a birthday celebration because it isn’t right that we are living in the UK in the 21st century and people are finding themselves in such situations.

“But it is wonderful to look at the people who have been helped to get their lives back on track.

“Every single person that walks through our door is treated with respect as an individual. We look at their personal situation and how we can best help them so that they get to the point where they no longer need us.”

CAP was set up by husband and wife Ernest and Elisabeth Hibbert in 1997 in the basement of the New Life Christian Centre church they attended. It was inspired by the high levels of deprivation the couple had seen on a trip to London.

They decided they wanted to reach out to disadvantaged people in need on their own doorstep.

The charity helps people of all ages, with a variety of different circumstances - from former servicemen to those who are homeless, to people who have lost their jobs, suffered bereavements or whose family relationships have broken down.

In 2004, when CAP moved to Wood Street, it was helping 13 clients each day.

By the time it moved to its current base on Market Street ten years later, that number had risen to 80.

Mr Dobson said: “I can’t see this going away. We can’t have someone standing there in need and not help them, but we need to fix the problems that are creating this.

“There’s a lack of empathy and understanding about why people are struggling.”