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Sandra on the money at empowering financial advocacy

Sandra on the money at empowering financial advocacy

Sandra on the money at empowering financial advocacy

11 August 2020

Shepparton Moneycare financial counsellor Sandra Kington (centre) with community members at the Moneycare Day event last year.

By Lauren Martin

Sandra Kington says she would love to “do herself out of a job”. The bubbly Salvation Army Moneycare financial counsellor is passionate about seeing people take control of their finances, know their rights and advocate for their own wellbeing.

That’s why, every year, she goes ‘above and beyond’ to organise a Moneycare Day event at Shepparton Corps in Victoria’s north. Timed to coincide with national Anti-Poverty Week (11-17 October), The Salvation Army’s Moneycare free financial counselling service holds a number of events across the country with the aim of educating communities about their rights and how to take control of their finances.

Asfaw Tadela (left) with Moneycare financial counsellor Phil White at a Moneycare stall in Rockdale Plaza, NSW.

For Sandra, prevention is key. “I get a buzz out of giving the resources, information and education to empower our community,” she said. Moneycare Day at Shepparton Salvation Army regularly attracts up to 80 people – current and former Moneycare participants, interested community members, as well as other service providers. Last year, those attending enjoyed a Devonshire tea in between hearing speakers from various agencies and browsing the expo-style stalls that offered things like free health checks, utilities advice and advocacy.

“I love to see people make a difference in their own lives,” Sandra says. “I’ve had clients that have gone off after being at the event and ringing me back later, saying, ‘I was successful after hearing that person speak at that Moneycare Day’, because they’ve had debts waived on their own or they’ve learned their rights.”

One woman got so much out of attending one of Sandra’s Moneycare Day events that now she brings her daughters along. Another said she learned about the utility relief grant scheme at Moneycare Day. The next time she was having difficulty with her bills she called the company and was able to get some relief. “I feel more confident to advocate for myself now,” she said.

Some corps and centres take a different approach to Moneycare Day, setting up stalls at local shopping centres to raise awareness, holding budgeting workshops or advocacy breakfasts.

These events are just one of a range of actions The Salvation Army is urging its people to take during Anti-Poverty Week, with Jennifer Kirkaldy, Salvation Army General Manager of Policy and Advocacy, saying, “We can all play our part to help end poverty”.

Moneycare Day at Auburn Salvation Army in Sydney, NSW.

Depending on COVID-19-related restrictions, some event ideas The Salvation Army’s Mission Resources team has put forward for Anti-Poverty Week 2020 include:

  • Lectures, debates, workshops and conferences
  • Letters to newspapers, petitions, surveys and publications
  • Open days, walks, rallies, sleep-outs, film nights and concerts
  • Advice and training sessions, exhibitions and information stalls
  • Meal services, fundraisers and religious services
  • Competitions, award presentations and school projects

The team has a range of resources for Salvation Army corps and centres to help raise awareness within their communities during Anti-Poverty Week. Resources will continue to be uploaded closer to the October date. They can be accessed here: my.salvos.org.au/anti-poverty-week 

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