Just before the Christmas close of the FinUCAre office, I was submitting a Home Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS) application on our front office administrator’s computer as all the office computers had been stolen during a break-in. An elderly lady came in, very distressed, and spoke to Corryn, our front office administrator, about her Synergy bill and her need to see a specialist about her medical condition who required payment up front or she wouldn’t be able to see him.
As it is part of the agency’s procedure, we require clients to complete and supply certain documents such as proof of income, bank statements, bills and signed authorities before we book appointments. I happened to overhear part of the conversation and I could see Corryn was wondering how we could help the client sooner. As I had a little time before my next client was due I felt compelled to do what I could to assist.
The client’s Synergy bill was less than $100 and she just didn’t have the money. The client didn’t want to let on to her children how bad things were as she felt embarrassed and they had been helping her out a little already. I spoke to Synergy and obtained a moratorium for a few weeks till she could come back to see us. She also had a Telstra bill for a little over $100 and we were able to give her Telstra vouchers to the value of $100.
I encouraged her to contact the specialist to see if there were options for payment as some of her accounts were now under control.
The expression of relief on this person’s face was quite obvious and tissues were needed. Occasions such as these make our work extra worthwhile.
Top image: FinUCAre patron, Paddi Creevey, and co-ordinator, Kim Every, look on as chair, Coral Richards, is congratulated on FinUCAre’s 10th anniversary of providing financial counselling in the Peel Region by the chair of the Uniting Church in WA Congregational Community Services Commission, John Talbert, at the recent FinUCAre public meeting.