Reaching Regional South Australians: Financial Counselling through ac.care

Commencing in 2009, Wyatt’s financial counselling partnership with Anglican Community Care (ac.care) delivers comprehensive budgeting assistance and advocacy support to South Australians in financial hardship in the Riverland, Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and the South East.

Initially focused on the three sites of Berri, Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge, 2012 saw the expansion of the partnership to include Mount Barker and Millicent. This expansion has successfully assisted clients living in previously unserviced areas, reaching those, in particular, who are unable to travel to access neighbouring financial counselling services.

In the first quarter of 2012-2013, the partnership with ac.care has funded 170 financial counselling appointments and over 240 hours of financial counselling assistance for regional South Australians experiencing financial hardship. The demand for financial counselling services in these areas remains high, and ac.care’s financial counsellors play an invaluable role assisting clients to meet their financial obligations; providing information regarding credit, debt and consumer rights; and providing clients with the tools required to regain control of a household budget.

The availability of a local financial counselling service was a distinct turning point for one 19-year old client who had been considering bankruptcy. The financial counsellor assisting her told us her story: “We worked together to negotiate her debts, and I have taught her to negotiate with creditors, assisting her by providing tips on managing her budget. She rang this morning to tell me she had gone up to Hamilton Island and worked there, saving up $7,000. When she came home, she paid off all of her debts, and has bought herself a laptop computer. She is now debt-free and is managing on her income. I am so proud of her.”