Drop in call for support services
An Invercargill foodbank and two budget advice centres are unusually quiet this month, indicating that people in need are learning how to better manage their money and the economy is improving.
Jubilee Budget Advisory Service manager Simon Tierney said February was normally the organisation's busiest time of year, but it had halved it's new client list.
The organisation had 48 new clients in February last year, down to 25 this February. The number of new clients had dropped in the past year from 653 to 521.
He attributed the drop in new clients to educational workshops for people in need, a larger awareness of financial issues through national campaigns and Work and Income referring clients for budgeting help. The economy was in good shape overall.
People were also getting better at managing their money, but there would always be those who needed the service's help, he said.
The organisation's workshops meant people were getting better educated about finances before coming to the service in trouble. "It's about being proactive."
Meanwhile, the Invercargill and Districts Budget Advisory Service was also experiencing a quiet month. Last February it received about 20 new clients but only about 10 this February.
Co-ordinator Sonya Donnelly attributed the decrease to people managing finances better.
People had gone through tougher times in the past two or three years and may be spending more wisely and making better financial choices, she said.
Salvation Army Invercargill community ministries foodbank co-ordinator Brenda King said the food bank was experiencing it's quietest February in three years.
Figures showed 70 food parcels were given out last February and only 35 this February.
Mrs King said the drop could have been because existing clients were not given food parcels unless they were actively engaging with a budget adviser, which could mean people were learning to organise their money better.
The Southland Times