Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Financial & Gambling Counselling Service

Lake Macquarie Financial & Gambling Counselling Service
is located and auspiced by Woodrising Neighbourhood Centre.

The service is funded by NSW Fair Trading and the NSW Government Responsible Gambling Fund.
Financial Counselling
All of us have to manage our money.At times this can be difficult.
We may experience a drop in income, loss of job, change in health, an unexpected bill, loss of partner, family sepration or the addition of a new family member. Each of these situations impacts us financially.
Financial counselling is a free service that assists people experiencing financial problems.
Our trained financial counsellors will work with you to:
  • Establish and assess your current financial situation
  • Provide information on your debts and debt collection
  • Provide ongoing support which may include negotiations with your creditors
  • Discuss possible debt repayment strategies
  • Provide referral to other services when necessary
Our aim is to provide you with asistance, support and information for your situation.
We understand the importance of privacy and confidentiality.

Financial Counselling can:
  • Help relieve stress and anxiety about your financial problem
  • Increase your ability to manage your situation
  • Help you plan for the future
If you are feeling anxious about your financial situation please contact this service for a free appointment -
Phone: 02 4950 5108

Gambling Counselling
Many people gamble at one time or another. For most people gambling is fun, entertaining and a chance to win a bit of money.
If gambling has stopped being fun and started to feel like a problem, this service can help. We can assist if your gambling has become harmful to you or hurting those close to you.

If you want to chack whether you have a gambling problem, ask yourself:
'Am I always in control of how much I spend on gambling?'
'Is the time & money I spend gambling hurting anyone else?'

It is important to know how severe gambling problems can become.
  • Losing money is not fun nor is having to lie to family and friends to cover your losses.
  • Money issues become a consuming thought
  • Increased debt delays the disaster but makes the drive to gamble stronger
  • Work mperformance and attendance can suffer
  • Family, friends and relationships are affected
Gambling Help counsellors are:
Specially trained and have a wealth of experience in helping peolpe find their way out of gambling rel;ated difficulties.
They understand the importance of privacy and confidentiality.
All Gembling Help services have a common goal:
To help people understand and oversome problem gambling, and to provide support, advice and encouragement as they do so.

Please contact us for a free apointment on
02 4950 5108

Other contacts:
Credit and Dept Hotline: 1800 808 488
Lifeline: 131 114
Gambling Help: 1800 858 858

    Friday, 11 November 2011

    WNC Weekly Activities

    Ø Mondays

    • Adult Education - Computer Training classes
    • Advanced Broadband for Seniors
    • Jenz Dance Acadamy 4.00 - 8pm (3yrs to adult classes) - 0416 036 714

    Ø Tuesdays
    • Broadband for Seniors Ph: 4959 4624

    Ø   Wednesdays

    • Free Legal Advice Service, by appointment  2.00 pm – 3.30 pm
    • Jenz Dance Academy from 4.00 pm to 7.30 pm

    • Parenting Groups
      Examples of courses available:
      Being a Parent : Growing your kids or
      Dealing With Difficult People: 
      Phone 4959 4624

    Ø Thursdays
    • 9.30 am - 11.30 am - FREE Supported Playgroup - all welcome
    • Lifeboat Free Food Packages 2.00 pm (bring Centrelink card)
    Ø Fridays

    Free Counselling Services: By Appointment

    Adolescent & Family Counsellor – 4950 5018

    Financial Counselling & Problem Gambling Counselling - 4950 5108

    Hunter Region No Interest Loans Scheme – 4050 5108

    Wednesday, 9 November 2011


    Crisis Payment
    Centrelink provides a Crisis Payment to people who experience
    severe financial hardship due to domestic violence and who are
    already receiving Centrelink income support. You can be eligible
    if you are forced to leave your home or if you remain at home and
    the violent partner is removed. To be eligible, you must contact
    Centrelink within seven days of the crisis event and lodge an
    application within fourteen days of contacting the agency. The
    amount is equal to one week of your standard benefit, minus any
    supplements. For more information, see:

    Advance Payments
    If you are a Centrelink client, you may request an Advance Payment
    of up to $500 with no interest charges. Find out more about
    advance payments ask a Centrelink officer or see:

    No interest and low interest loans
    A number of agencies provide NO interest loans to people who cannot afford essential items and services. A typical no interest loan is around $800 - $1200 and they can be paid back over twelve to eighteen months.
    No interest loans are usually available for people on Centrelink benefits who need assistance purchasing
    items such as whitegoods, furniture or medical equipment.
    There are other options if you cannot get a no interest loan or need
    to borrow a larger amount of money. One option is to apply for a
    low interest loan. Low interest loans are designed for people on
    Centrelink benefits.
    They can be used for personal, domestic or household expenses,
    such as buying a fridge, computer, furniture, medical expenses
    or house repairs. Loans of $500 - $3000 are available on a fixed low rate to be repaid over three years, with no additional fees and charges.
    To find out more about no and low interest loans and providers of
    these loans, see the Money Smart website at:
    or call the ASIC Infoline on – 1300 300 630

    Matched savings plans
    A matched savings plan is a program where people on low incomes
    agree to save a certain amount of money, generally $300 - $500.
    Once you save this much money, your savings are matched dollar for-
    dollar. For every dollar you save, the bank or other contributor
    also pays you a dollar.
    One example of a matched savings account is Saver Plus
    developed by the Brotherhood of St Lawrence with ANZ Bank.
    This program is designed for people on Centrelink benefits with
    some regular employment who are either attending or returning
    to vocational education or for a parent or guardian of a child in
    school. Call the Brotherhood of St Lawrence on 1300 610 355
    or email for more information.
    Another matched savings program is AddsUp, provided by
    Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services in partnership with the
    National Australia Bank. Call Good Shepherd Youth and Family
    Services on (03) 9418 3000 or visit -
    to find out more.

    Alternatives to payday loans or same day cash advances
    Payday loans or same day cash advances (e.g. from companies
    like Cash Converters, Dollars Direct or Cash Today) can seem
    attractive because approval is granted very quickly, sometimes
    with no credit checks. The problem is that these types of loans
    can end up costing you a lot of money in high fees and much
    higher interest than offered by banks and credit unions, making
    it difficult to pay back the loan. No interest loans and low
    interest loans are excellent alternatives to payday lenders and
    other short-term, high-cost lenders.

    Hardship policies
    If you cannot pay your credit card, loans or mortgage, you can
    contact your credit provider and ask to negotiate a new payment
    agreement that you can afford or ask for a hardship variation.
    A hardship variation is a formal process where you ask your credit
    provider to change the terms of your loan contract by allowing
    you to:
    • Postpone your payments (with interest added on your loan)
    • Make interest-only repayments for a period
    • Extend your loan period so you can make smaller repayments over a longer period (although you may pay more interest in the long term)
    Utility providers also have hardship policies. If you cannot pay your
    water, phone, gas or electricity bill, contact the utility provider and
    explain your situation. They may be able to arrange a plan so that
    you can make several payments over time, rather than all at once.
    It is best to approach your bank or credit provider as early as
    possible when you know you are not able to make payments.
    Many people wait until the debt collector is knocking at the door
    before they ask for help and it is much harder to negotiate a
    payment plan at that stage.
    Hardship policies can be difficult to understand. A financial
    counsellor may be able to assist you directly or by referring you to
    a lawyer. You can find a financial counsellor in your local area by
    calling the Financial Counselling Hotline on 1800 007 007
    or checking the Financial Counselling Australia web site at:
    You can find out about your credit rating, which is especially
    important if you ever want to take out a loan, apply for a credit card
    or mortgage or sign up for a utility account (such as for phone, gas
    or water). A poor credit rating can result from missed or delayed
    payments on bills or debts.
    Credit reports are usually provided for free and you can get yours
    by contacting a credit reporting agency. You will be asked for
    information that properly identifies you, which may include:

    * your full name
    * your address
    * your date of birth
    * your previous address
    * your driver’s licence number.
                  There are two main credit reporting agencies. Their contact details are:

                  VEDA Advantage

                  Public Access Centre Dun & Bradstreet (Australia)
                  PO Box 7405 St Kilda Road VIC 3004
                  Phone: 132 333 Fax: 03 9828 3185

                  NEED SOME ADVICE?
                  Financial counselling
                  Financial counselling is a free community service to help people
                  who have financial problems. A financial counsellor can negotiate
                  and advocate for people who are trying to manage their bills and
                  debts. They can also teach financial skills and educate people
                  about their rights and responsibilities when accessing financial
                  services such as credit cards, loans and mortgages.
                  Each state and territory has a range of community organisations
                  that are funded by the government and other sources to provide
                  free financial counselling.
                  Woodrising Neighbourhood Centre has a financial & gambling counsellor:
                  Lake Macquarie Financail Gambling Counsellor
                  Phone 4950 5108 (outreaching to East & South Lake Macquarie)
                  You can also find a financial counsellor in your local area by calling the
                  on 1800 007 007 or checking the Financial Counselling Australia website

                  Legal Centers
                  Consumer Action Law Centre in Victoria 1300 881 020
                  and Consumer Credit Legal Centre NSW Phone 1800 808 488
                  Each state also has Community Legal Centres that specialise
                  in consumer law.
                  See the National Association of Community Legal Centres web site for ocmmunity legal centers and specialist services dealing in financial matters:


                  Online financial resources
                  Money Smart people on low-incomes.provides information on money, finances and services for
                  Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services provides programs to help women experiencing financial and other difficulties. Their web site lists helpful services nationwide and is a women-focused service
                  The Davidson Institute offers free and low-cost budgeting and finance courses at local Westpac branches. It provides online resources about financial issues and arrangements

                  Legal centres can also be helpful with financial difficulties. Many legal centres do legal work that relates to financial matters for eople facing hardship and a number of legal centres have financial counsellors based in their service.
                  There are a number of specialist services around the country that provide financial counselling, advice and referral. Two examples are the
                  1300 762 207 Fax: (02) 9278 7333
                  PO Box 964 North Sydney NSW 2059.

                  Credit cards can be great in terms of allowing flexibility in purchasing and paying for goods and services but they typically have much higher interest rate charges and fees than other types of credit. You can end up paying a lot of money and increasing your debt if you don’t pay off your credit card when the interest free period is up each month. No interest, low interest loans and personal loans (even unsecured personal loans) are a cheaper alternative to credit cards, and can offer longer periods in which to pay back the loan.

                  Australian Domestic and Family
                  Violence Clearinghouse

                  The Centre for Gender-Related
                  Violence Studies

                  The University of New South Wales,
                  Sydney NSW 2052



                  CENTRELINK SERVICES

                  Friday, 4 November 2011

                  Parenting Support Services

                  Parenting Support Services

                  Newcastle Family Support regularly offers workshops for  parents & carers
                  of children under 12.
                  These workshops usually run for 3 hours, with childcare provided.

                  Positive Parenting Programs
                  are also popular .
                  Enquiries phone 4959 4624

                  Looking for a JP?

                  Do you need a Justice of the Peace?
                  At Woodrising Neighbourhood Centre we have a JP available most week days from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm
                  Phone 02 4959 4624 or call in

                  Information on Aged Care

                  From 1st July 2011, a new national phone number will help Australians find information about aged care.
                  Whether you care for someone and need support,
                  or you are just not sure where to start looking, call:
                  1800 200 422
                  (Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government)

                  Following are some contact details for

                  Home Care in Lake Macquarie/Newcastle.

                  Community Care Access:
                  Ph: 1300 731 556
                  This number is your best first calling point.
                  (Dept of Human Services)


                  Local Central Intake for
                  Community Nursing,
                  Home Care,
                  ACAT assessments etc

                  Ph:4924 2590

                  Community Options Home Service      Ph: 4924 6099

                  Lake Macquarie Support Services        Ph: 4972 1318

                         Anglican Care Home Care                Ph: 4958 0088    


                  Lake Macquarie Home & Community Care Centre 

                  Mercy Community Services,

                  13 Brooks Street, West Wallsend 2286

                  Phone: 02 4944 1944   Fax: 02 4955 4218