A proud Dunstable volunteer was part of a Salvation Army team who were highly commended for their work to help those struggling with debt.
Jim Burns, 70, and five other local volunteers were honoured at a Central Bedfordshire Council awards party on June 4, which is held to inspire others to give up their time and help the community.
Volunteers play an important role in The Salvation Army’s community and outreach work, and Jim and his team were thrilled to be recognised at the Cheering Volunteering Awards.
Jim, who started volunteering more than 10 years ago while he was working full-time, said: “We see women come to us, where their partners have taken out credit such as credit cards, catalogues in their name.
“In effect, these women become responsible for another person’s debt.
“Some people who come to us have built up debt in unpaid utility bills which may span several years.
“Others fall into debt as a result of relationships breaking down – and there simply isn’t the income available to pay for everything.”
Indeed, Jim chooses to volunteer so he can help make positive changes to people.
He added: “Debt relief changes the atmosphere in those individuals and families affected, from feelings of despair to hope and excitement for new beginnings.
“We have taken people from a situation where they have a bag of unopened mailand can’t face opening it. There is no eye contact.
“Even after the first session with us, people feel better. They are different people within three to six months, because the burden is easing.”
To volunteer, visit: www.salvationarmy.org.uk/volunteer-for-us or visit your local Salvation Army church or centre to enquire.