Community Funding Feature – Jubliee Budget Advisory Service

Sharon Soper has a message for anyone who is starting to feel the financial strain. Don’t let it fester, ask for some help and advice.

Soper is the general manager for Jubilee Budget Advisory Service. It’s an important service that covers Southland and is made up of a team of financial mentors and educators.

Soper doesn’t hide from the fact that the Jubilee Budget Advisory Service is in more demand now than it ever has been.

More and more people are grappling with rising costs.

“We are just flat stick, and I can only see it getting worse,” Soper says.

“We are starting to see more couples that are both working, got a mortgage, now interest rates are hitting, food, all that sort of stuff, and now they are in trouble.

“A lot of people will live at the top of their means and then when something increases, they are in trouble.”

As demand has ramped up so has the need for additional resourcing at the non-profit organisation.

It previously had an office in Don St in Invercargill but moved to a bigger base in Forth St a couple of years ago.

However, Soper acknowledged they were starting to run out of room again, given staffing numbers had reached close to 40 to meet the increased demand of people seeking help.

The organisation includes a mixture of paid staff, volunteers, and directors.

About 50 percent is funded by the Government with the non-profit charitable organisation having to find the rest of its funding from elsewhere.

ILT has been one of the main supporters in helping Jubilee Budget Advisory Service continue with its important work.

“They have been very supportive… They honestly have, they’ve been terrific.”

Soper says they are not just an organisation that drafts up budgets for people. They take a holistic approach and refer people to other services if need be.

The work the service does can be rewarding and life-changing, but it can at times be heartbreaking.

“Some of the situations are quite sad. We are seeing more and more people living in cars, or couch surfing. Especially single people who are struggling to find accommodation.”

Soper stresses if you are starting to feel the pressure, reach out.

“It’s good to get help earlier than later. If things are starting to pile up a bit, get some advice.

“When people wait too long it’s harder to get them out of a hole, to be honest.”

“We are open to everybody and anybody. A lot of people think you have to be on a benefit or low income to get help.”

ILT board chair Paddy O’Brien said: “We’re pleased to be long-time supporters of Jubilee and to help play a small part in ensuring their much-needed services, including pregnancy support services and Super Grans, continue to be available to the people of Invercargill”.

Jubilee is an umbrella organisation for Jubilee SuperGrans, Te Ao Puawai (Pregnancy Support), Jubilee He Huarahi Whaioranga Ltd.

The SuperGrans programme helps people deal with the rising living costs by teaching different skills such as cooking.