In its 2012 Annual Report, just issued, Community Savings sets out its key objectives for 2013, which include:
· Setting up five new Common Interest Groups
· Setting up a Parish network
· Educating people on managing their finances and saving
· Becoming the charity organisation of choice for all States "social" initiatives that require a “banking” element such as the proposed Tenants Deposit Scheme and Dormant Account Scheme
· Increasing its opening hours to the public to five mornings a week
However, to achieve its objectives to extend its services to the increasing number of people in need, £350,000 to cover three years' running costs will be required and in addition to receiving support from the usual agencies, the charity hopes that the States will provide support, on an on-going basis.
Commenting on the service that Community Savings provides, Brian Curtis, Executive Chairman, says, “The States’ Income Support facilities are probably second to none but once funds are received by the beneficiaries, a proportion is often dissipated due to the lack of financial awareness. One of our key objectives therefore, has always been to raise the capability amongst islanders to manage their money and especially not to get into debt. We are finding that this remains a real problem and is being aggravated by the current recession”.
Working to help build confidence and to support those trying to integrate into mainstream society is another large area of Community Savings’ work.
“We try never to turn anyone away” explains the charity’s Executive Officer, Mr Stuart Stables. “For example, unfortunately there is still often a stigma attached to being homeless or having been in prison. Trying to re-build a normal life can be daunting for those affected in this way and by offering our support we can not only help them in their efforts, but also help society generally."
Customers can join Community Savings by becoming a member of a Common Interest Group. Such groups can be formed by individuals who share a common interest, such as, being regulars at a social club or all living on the same housing estate, but currently many customers are members of the central "Jersey Group" which is based in Seale Street alongside the Town Hall building.
"In February of this year we started opening on Thursday mornings as well which means we are now open four mornings per week from 9.30 – 12.30pm on Tuesday – Friday at our Seale Street office and we hope to extend that to five mornings later in the year” added Business Development Officer, Melanie Cavey. “However, we realise that for many living in the outer parishes it is not always easy to come into town should they wish to see an adviser and so we are hoping to establish more groups throughout the Island so that more people can benefit from our services”.