From foodbank dependent to financial freedom

The South Auckland Christian Foodbank was very grateful for the 2016 funding it received from Auckland Airport Community Trust to continue with its Financial Literacy/Capability 101 Programme, after a successful trial the previous year.

Data collected from our foodparcel clients showed us that most of our clients needed intervention to improve their cash flow, and this work is done very successfully with the many budgeting agencies we collaborate with in the community. However, we were seeing a number of repeat-cycle clients and realised that the level of education needed to stop these repeated actions varied from client to client. We also realised more needed to be done around financial education, and so we approached this in two ways.

Step 1 was our “Smart Choices” fridge magnet. This showed the common pitfalls for our clients to avoid in red, and five positive steps to help them towards becoming financially independent in green. Every foodparcel client received this fridge magnet, which was a very simple but effective way to promote a clear message to the whole family.

Step 2 was our Financial Capability Course. Designed by Massey University especially for families in South Auckland, this was a six-week programme over two hours per night (12 hours total). Everyone who completed the course received a Massey University certificate, presented at our Community Dinner. All attendees were mentored during and after the course to encourage and monitor progress.

In the short term, we have been very encouraged. Families are saying things like “I’m saving money, something I’ve never done before”, “We are now writing and keeping to a weekly budget”, and “I’m going to quit smoking” – all small steps but life-changing for so many people. The children of the parents attending our course also do activities, from making money boxes and other fun money activities to baking for their parents. We are just in the early stages of completing a longitudinal study with Massey University to measure long-term outcomes for these families.

It is an absolute privilege for us to be able to help so many families suffering in poverty and living in areas of high deprivation here in South Auckland. Through the funding received from Auckland Airport Community Trust, many families have benefited from our programme – which is life-changing for them and the community they live in.

Thank you so much.

This story appears in the Auckland Airport Community Trust's 2017 Annual Report.