Bendigo local Cathy Wood is one of 18 Victorians who has undergone training to become a financial wellbeing worker with Anglicare Victoria.
Cathy has spent the majority of her working life in the corporate world, and after a short stint owning a café, she has now decided she wants to do work that can make a difference and makes you feel good about yourself.
Thanks to the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria initiative, the financial wellness workers will provide free financial support and guidance to at-risk individuals and families in the community, many of whom having never accessed social services before.
Cathy has been selected as one of two people tasked with intake, speaking to all incoming clients and allocating cases to her colleagues. She is the first to admit that she had no knowledge of the financial counselling space when she began her training with Anglicare Victoria, but she has surprised herself as to how much she’s enjoying it.
“I had a head full of ignorance about the financial counselling world I had just stepped into, but I’ve learnt so much in the short time I’ve been a part of it. We’ve just recently started speaking to people who need help and it’s been great so far,” Cathy said.
“In our training we were told that many people are ‘just one life-changing event away from poverty’ – this really resonated with me. Many of the people we’ll be working with have never had to ask for support before, and I want these people to know that there is absolutely no shame in asking for help – that’s what we’re here for.”
Tracey Grinter, Manager of Community Services at Anglicare Victoria in Central Victoria, said that the financial wellbeing workers have embraced their new roles and have already supported a large number of people who were struggling to make ends meet.
“This year has been really tough, but it is really important to know that there is help available. The financial wellbeing team is able to provide budgeting assistance and advocate for you in negotiation with your bank or utility providers,” Tracey said.
“I had a women tell me that her conversation with a financial wellbeing worker had made her feel positive, and it was the first time she’d finished a call with a support service and felt better for reaching out. This is the outcome we aim to achieve for everyone we work with.”