Financial counselling provides individual support to people who find themselves in financial difficulty through unresolved debt. The team has strong links with local utility providers and local government to ensure that community members are provided with support to overcome their financial difficulties. In 2014–15, the financial counselling team provided counselling, support and advice to over 1200 people in the community.
One particular example demonstrates the excellent work of the financial counselling team.
A young couple came to the service for help. Economic and employment circumstances had forced the young family to relocate from interstate. As a result, they were in a complex financial crisis, their home and new business were under threat, and they were facing significant debt.
Over two appointments with the couple, our counsellor researched and mapped some options for them that addressed their financial predicament and the relevant legislative requirements of the state from which they came and those of Victoria. After the counsellor explained the implications of each option, the couple was able to make an informed decision about their circumstances. A plan was put in place that allowed the couple to keep their home and business.
In 2014–15, the Gambler’s Help team at CAFS grew significantly with the appointment of three therapeutic counsellors who are based at Ballarat but provide outreach support to Ararat, Daylesford, Bacchus Marsh, Maryborough and the two prisons in the area. In addition to individual counselling support for problem gamblers or their affected others, the Gambler’s Help team provides support and education to staff and managers working in venues where there are electronic gaming machines, as well as providing community education to community and sporting groups.
In 2014 Responsible Gambling Awareness Week coincided with International Health Day. The Gambler’s Help team used this opportunity to provide the Gambling’s Not a Game school kit to international, asylum seeker and refugee students attending Mount Clear College.
Following the presentation, the student community, led by the Afghan students, prepared a cultural luncheon from locally sourced food suppliers. The students represented a diverse cultural background, coming from Afghanistan, China, Japan, Vietnam, Togo, Uganda and Italy.