Budgeting Services manager Amelia Lawley

It’s been a long time since Waiheke Budgeting Services has had a call from someone asking for advice on how to “budget better”. Instead, the sky-high cost of living on the island means the team is focused on supplying emergency food to those who need it.

The need for this kind of support on Waiheke is already growing year-on-year and, more recently, it’s been amplified by Covid-19. 

Now, Budgeting Services is having to rework its funding model and fundraise for its foodbank for the first time in nine years.

“We are funded according to the amount of time we spend with clients, not client numbers, and we have a fixed number of ‘sessions’ that we have to deliver per year to meet our government contract,” says manager Amelia Lawley.

“These sessions must be spent building a client’s financial capability, but the problem is that there isn’t much capability we can build when people just don’t have enough money.”

As a result, session numbers are dropping quickly, and although Amelia sees many clients for food assistance – sometimes up to five a day – Budgeting Services can’t claim this time as funded sessions because the government doesn’t see emergency food provision as building financial capability. • Sophie Boladeras

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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