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Joseph finds a calming connection at the Salvos

Joseph finds a calming connection at the Salvos

Joseph finds a calming connection at the Salvos

16 October 2019

Moneycare Financial Counsellor Jenny Marsh with Joseph Wells, whose demeanour has changed since coming into contact with The Salvation Army.

By Lauren Martin

Joseph laughs when he says that his grandkids used to call him “Grumpy Grandad!” But the 68-year-old pensioner admits that anger has been a big issue for him over the past eight years since he was injured.

A single father of four, Joseph is proud of the fact that he chose to work his whole life to support his family, rather than receive government assistance. He drove taxis in Brisbane until he was shot. Not once but twice.

As well as the physical injuries, which took time to heal, Joseph was left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and unable to work. Still paying off his mortgage, it wasn’t long before bills started to pile up. As the mailbox filled with letters from creditors, Joseph says his anger built.

His daughter made him an appointment to see a Salvation Army Moneycare free financial counsellor. Jenny Marsh was handed the case and immediately began working with Joseph to ease his financial burden – gaining ‘hardship provision’ for his loan and working on payment plans for his expenses. “Jenny has really helped me out so much,” he said.

Instead of getting angry when bills came in the mail, Jenny told Joseph to set them aside and bring them in for her to have a look at during their next appointment. Through that process, she has been able to advocate with creditors on Joseph’s behalf and help him to learn how to advocate for himself, without his anger rising sky-high.

“He has come so far,” Jenny said. “I can talk to the different people on the phone on his behalf and he’s not in my ear saying things anymore. He’s quite happy to let me do it or we’ve also started to do a little bit where he’ll talk on the phone as well.”

Joseph hates getting what he calls “hand-outs”, saying “there are people out there who need it more than me!” But over the years he has at times accepted emergency financial assistance for groceries from the Salvos. And, at Christmas, Caboolture Corps Officer Major Bruce Ellicott always manages to bless Joseph with a gift.

“He knows what I like, and he always throws a big box of food at me and toys and things. I never ask for it, but he gives it; he knows [me well],” said Joseph.

Over the past few years, Joseph has become a regular face at The Salvation Army in Caboolture. He structures his fortnightly Moneycare meeting with Jenny on a Wednesday so that he can attend Men’s Group afterwards.

“I wander in and help them cook sausages,” he said.

Jenny said it’s been beautiful to watch the changes in Joseph’s demeanour and outlook on life after the past few years. “We have gotten to know each other quite well. He has calmed down a lot now; he’s not as angry.”

Joseph said that even his children have noticed the change in him, that he’s not such a “Grumpy Grandad” after all!

Today is The Salvation Army Moneycare Day, which raises awareness of poverty during Anti-Poverty Week and aims to assist people with financial literacy. On Moneycare Day or during Anti-Poverty Week, many Salvation Army Corps open their doors to the community to help promote services on offer through Moneycare.

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