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Demand grows for local financial crisis support

Demand grows for local financial crisis support

Wednesday 01 January 2020

Demand grows for local financial crisis support


Pressure is growing on a local charity offering support to islanders in financial dire straits, with 900 members now on its books.

Community Savings provides both advice in the form of budgeting and mentoring services, as well as practical help, such as basic account facilities and a pre-paid debit card.

As another busy year comes to an end, and a new one begins, the supportive team behind the endeavour reflected on their achievements, and wishes for 2020...

"Community Savings continues to see a growing demand for its services from Islanders struggling with money issues.

We currently provide basic financial services for over 900 members, but we also assist them with debt advice, financial mentoring, and emergency funding –  a particular issue at this expensive time of year.

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Pictured: The Community Savings team includes volunteers and staff.

As with lots of charities and voluntary organisations, funding is an ongoing issue – especially as we receive no Government support – and so we are hugely appreciative of the support we receive from the likes of the Association of Jersey Charities and the Lloyds Bank Foundation for the Channel Islands, as well as our other major sponsors.

With their help, we have recently installed a new customer relationship management system which, as well as improving operating efficiency, will hopefully allow us to provide internet and mobile services to our members in 2020. 

We have also appointed a dedicated education officer to help us expand our existing financial education programme across the Island’s secondary schools. We believe this work is critical in equipping young people with the skills and knowledge and confidence to manage their finances and prepare them for the responsibilities of adult life.

Already, in the first term of this academic year, we have delivered classes and workshops to over 1,500 students aged from 11-18 and we have a number of financial awareness events planned for the coming year.

On a less positive note, 2019 also saw the passing our long-term friend and colleague Colin Powell. He was a huge asset to Jersey, and to our charity, and we all miss his wise counsel, his knowledge and foresight, his gentle humour, and his company.

Looking ahead, we were heartened by the response to the consultation exercise we undertook with our staff, volunteers and members by way of a number of independently-led focus groups. 

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Pictured: A third of islanders expressed they found it difficult to cope financially in the latest Jersey Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

The heart-warming comments and huge appreciation expressed by our members for the work we do has reinforced to us the importance of offering a safety net for those people who are excluded from the mainstream banking system as well as those in extreme hardship.

Therefore, it was a concern to read in the recently published Jersey Opinions and Lifestyle Survey report that three out of every ten Jersey adults were finding it difficult to cope financially. That was no surprise to us, or organisations such as Citizens Advice Jersey, and we will continue to work closely with them and other key partners to encourage all those who need help to contact us directly. 

Lastly, as a charity which is hugely reliant on the support and goodwill of the volunteer cashiers, directors, and office staff who assist our small team of part-time employees, we welcome the opportunity to wish them, our supporters, and everyone associated with Community Savings a happy and enjoyable Christmas and New Year."

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