Bit­ter­sweet award for fi­nan­cial ser­vice

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPIN­ION -

JACARANDA Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Cloverdale has re­ceived an award for its fi­nan­cial coun­selling ser­vice.

It was a bit­ter­sweet re­ward for staff, who lost $250,000 in fund­ing for the ser­vice late last year.

Last week, Jacaranda re­ceived the Richard Fletcher Award from the De­part­ment of Com­merce, recognising its ded­i­ca­tion to help­ing peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fi­nan­cial and wel­fare dif­fi­cul­ties.

Jacaranda was one of three stand­out win­ners recog­nised for ad­vanc­ing con­sumer rights at the 2016 Western Aus­tralian Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Awards.

Jacaranda chief ex­ec­u­tive Lyn­d­sey Fitzger­ald said she was im­mensely proud of her staff, who re­mained ded­i­cated and de­ter­mined de­spite the fund­ing cuts.

“I’m hop­ing with the award peo­ple will recog­nise we’re do­ing the best in the state and they’ll re­alise we’re worth fund­ing,” she said.

“I’m glad we were recog­nised and I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the award from Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

“The State Gov­ern­ment needs to look at the fact that more peo­ple are need­ing fi­nan­cial help and from dif­fer­ent groups.”

“We know jobs are go­ing… and we don’t have enough staff to help com­pa­nies talk peo­ple through their op­tions prior to them leav­ing,” she said.

While Jacaranda is lim­ited in the ser­vices it can pro­vide, it has worked hard to make the most of its avail­able staff.

“We’ve all ad­justed to keep as open as we can and see as many clients as we can.” Ms Fitzger­ald said.

“The clients are not re­duc­ing, we’re al­ways booked two or three weeks in ad­vance.”

Jacaranda started in a rented flat in March 2000 and in the 16 years since has ex­panded ser­vices and helped thou­sands.

It had the help of the lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity and other vol­un­teers, and even­tu­ally suc­ceeded get­ting Lot­tery­west fund­ing to move into its cur­rent of­fice.

Jacaranda Com­mu­nity Cen­tre chief ex­ec­u­tive Lyn­d­sey Fitzger­ald and fi­nan­cial ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer Tracey Hamel with their award.

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