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Financial counselling service adapts to need

January 31, 2024

Anglicare’s financial counsellors are committed to supporting Tasmanians to build the resilience they need to weather the current cost of living crisis.

Lynne Watson (pictured above left, with team members Georgia and Tahlia) manages the service in the North and North West. She is seeing a trend away from supporting people with accumulated debt towards assisting them to cover normal, day-to-day expenses.

“These challenges can include covering mortgage payments or rent, utility bills, putting food on the table or getting their children ready to go back to school,” Lynne explained.

“Our team includes a former solicitor, accountant, teacher and banker, so they bring a wealth of life experience to their roles. At Anglicare – and in our profession more widely — we’ve moved away from ‘rescuing’ people to empowering them so that they can build up the resilience they need to take control of their financial situation.

“Georgia and Tahlia are the newest – and youngest – members of our team. They bring a fresh perspective that is really valuable as we adapt our service to meet changing needs.”

Georgia and Tahlia joined Anglicare in October 2020 as interns when the organisation received additional funding to expand its financial counselling services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pair has completed a Diploma of Financial Counselling through the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors and join fellow Southern-based counsellor Stephanie, as she has also become a valuable member of our financial counselling team.

“I’d been working in a bank’s call centre when I saw Anglicare’s advertisement on Seek,” explained Georgia.  “I’m a problem solver, so it sparked my interest straight away.”

“It’s not the sort of role that you see advertised very often,” adds Tahlia, who also came with some experience in the financial sector. “It’s a real opportunity to support people.”

Tahlia and Georgia describe their supervisors as “incredibly helpful” during their internship: “They’ve always encouraged us with feedback and advice on how to guide people through difficult circumstances, from declaring bankruptcy to dealing with gambling-related debt. We can also refer them to other services within Anglicare, such as Gamblers Help and a wide range of mental health programs,” they said.

Tahlia has a young family. She appreciates Anglicare’s emphasis on self-care and the need for a life-work balance: “In turn this helps us to support our clients, who often come to us overwhelmed and unaware of their options. We encourage them to take a breath and as a first step, draw up a budget,” she said.

“Our clients are often very surprised that counselling can make a real difference to their situation,” confirmed Georgia.

Professional development for the pair is ongoing, and includes regular webinars on topics such as changes to credit laws and Centrelink processes. The next step is a training module that will give them insight into how to best support small business owners experiencing financial difficulties.

More information

Anglicare operates the National Debt Helpline in Tasmania. (And remember, you don’t have to have debt to access the service.) When someone rings 1800 007 007 they are connected with one of our friendly professionals. There is the option to continue telephone counselling or to meet with a counsellor at one of our offices around the State.

Find out more about Anglicare’s financial counselling service here.

This link will take you to the Diploma of Financial Counselling course.

The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)  is also an excellent port of call if you are on a low income.

Ihttps://www.nilstasmania.org.au/n December last year, Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre  published a report called Survival Mode. It details the physical and emotional toll that living on a low income has on Tasmanians, and calls for change.

 

 

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