North Ayrshire's debt, welfare and housing advice charity CHAP is leading the way by practising what it preaches.

There are so many reasons why someone might find themselves in debt but low wages and the uncertainty of zero hours contracts certainly don’t help.

That’s why North Ayrshire’s dedicated, homelessness-prevention charity CHAP has recently committed to being not just an accredited Living Wage employer but has also achieved Living Hours Accreditation.

Debbie Alexander, CHAP’s CEO, said: “Times are extremely tough for charity funding just now but life remains challenging for our colleagues and clients too. Since our work is dedicated to achieving a fair chance at life for all, it’s a no-brainer for us to publicly commit fully to being a fair and supportive employer.

“Maintaining a motivated and valued team is the keystone behind our recent triple quality accreditation from the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers (SNSIAP)”.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: CHAP CEO Debbie AlexanderCHAP CEO Debbie Alexander (Image: CHAP)

CHAP currently operates from a base in the Michael Lynch Centre in Ardrossan and from five dedicated community hubs within Whitlees Community Centre, Ardeer Community Centre, the Ayrshire Community Trust (TACT) offices in Saltcoats, Kilwinning Sports Club and the Bridgend Community Centre in Kilbirnie.

All CHAP’s services and advice are provided free and its aims include the alleviation of health and social issues which go along with debt; including, in the most serious of cases, homelessness and family breakup.

The charity’s clear ambition this year is to expand its range of community hubs, not only across Ayrshire and beyond, but also in terms of the support available in each hub.

Debbie added: “We have been providing free budgeting and money-management advice in schools for twenty years but have recently expanded that to cover all ages.

"We have active plans to add wider life-skills training, including cooking, food shopping and storage; all of which can make a significant difference to a family’s health and quality of life, as well as to their budget.

“We take a holistic approach to debt-prevention and alleviation and really want to hear from anyone who thinks they have time, resource or skills to spare to help level-up the playing field for all across our community.”

CHAP would welcome approaches from anyone with premises possibly suitable to establish a community hub, or anyone who could contribute relevant skills and resources to deliver value to others across the neighbourhood.

We’re all better if we work consistently together to raise standards.       

If you are in need of help and advice, or would like to speak to CHAP about donating or volunteering, please do not hesitate to get in touch at