19 Jul Update about NILS
Dear valued member and supporter,
As most of you may know, the Corangamite No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) has been based in Camperdown for over seven years, and has been located at the Camperdown & District Community House (CCH) since late 2013. Melissa Smith has been providing the NILS service in Corangamite since 2013 as the accredited Microfinance Officer with great results for her clients and our community.
For those of you who are not familiar with NILS, this service offers people on low incomes safe, fair and affordable loans for fridges, washing machines and furniture, as well as education and medical expenses. NILS also provides a safe and affordable alternative to the high-cost finance options such as payday loans or ‘rent to buy’, products which promise ‘fast cash’ but often compound a person’s financial situation. Benefits of the NILS service go beyond accessing affordable loans. By engaging with NILS, individuals are provided the opportunity to increase their financial literacy and reduce financial hardship, along with building overall confidence and control over own finances.
The NILS service is funded by Good Shepard Microfinance (GSM). GSM have recently introduced a new funding model for NILS. This change in model, along with a decrease in government funding available to NILS providers throughout the state, has seen a significant impact on how the NILS program will be offered across Victoria going forward.
CCH was fortunate enough to receive a funding offer under this new model. However, the funding available was not enough for us to continue to provide the service at the current level. We have explored all possible options that would allow us to continue, but it is with great sadness that the CCH Committee of Management announce that it is not possible for us to continue under the terms of this new agreement. As a result, CCH will no longer be providing the Corangamite NILS service when our current funding is used. We have managed to secure the remaining funding from the previous agreement that will allow us to continue Melissa’s employment until September 2017, and Melissa will be able to continue to provide the Corangamite NILS service until then.
After September, the NILS service will still be available to residents of Corangamite Shire, however this will be either through another service agency. We will pass these details on once GSM provides us with more information about the new model. CCH will continue as an ‘unfunded referral partner’ and will provide referrals to those service agency/agencies for community members enquiring about a NILS loan, and information about NILS and the loan process.
Melissa has been a tremendous asset to the organisation in the time she has been delivering the NILS program. Her drive, determination, commitment and passion have been clear and have not only benefitted NILS clients, but the organisation, our members, volunteers and wider community as well. We are all extremely saddened by this new development, and wish to acknowledge Melissa’s tremendous hard work and support of CCH and our community. We will be arranging a farewell and thank you event for Melissa before her last day as the Corangamite NILS Microfinance Officer, we will be in touch with these details when we have finalised the arrangements.
We wish to thank all of you for your support to Melissa, CCH, and Corangamite NILS since 2013.
CCH Committee of Management