Fund­ing life­line for coun­selling ser­vice

DE­MAND STILL HIGH FOR FI­NAN­CIAL AS­SIS­TANCE

Midland Reporter - - News - Sarah Brookes

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.”

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d474383

Noreen Townsend and Anne Whitby with clients.

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