Funding lifeline for counselling service
DEMAND STILL HIGH FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
A FORRESTFIELD-based financial counselling service is hoping to receive a slice of $7.4 million committed by the State Government to reinstate and expand the community services sector.
Forrestfield Information Referral Service (FIRS) co-ordinator Anne Whitby said the organisation had struggled to cope with demand since losing $140,000 in funding in 2015.
“FIRS has been operating with great difficulty,” she said.
“We have not been able to offer our full service to the community since the budget cuts although we have been able to still offer our clients an emergency relief program through the help of volunteers and basic budgeting advice.
“A competitive tender process is yet to be announced but FIRS will be looking at this closely, however we will be competing with all other organisations across the state for a share of the funding.”
Mrs Whitby said without funding, the service could close its doors.
“FIRS has remained as busy as ever with phone calls and walk-ins seeking financial assistance,” she said.
“This has been ever increasing over the year. Financial counselling should be a priority, it enables individuals and families to manage everyday income and expenses and ensures that most clients become self-sufficient.”
Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said financial counselling services in Perth’s metro region were forced to turn away more than 3000 requests for assistance in the second half of 2016.
“This is unacceptable,” she said.
“We look forward to working with the community services sector to ensure that we maximise every opportunity to deliver quality financial counselling services to WA’s communities.”
Noreen Townsend and Anne Whitby with clients.