This community organisation started with the vision of Jenny Elvey, an emergency relief worker, who had a dream of an agency which could provide a holistic program with a long term approach, in order to empower people to develop financial literacy alongside financial independence. One night in 2006, over a dining room table, Jenny and two other like minded community service workers put in a few dollars each to register the agency.
There followed three years of weekend sausage sizzles throughout Bendigo to raise funds, in order to rent premises in St Andrews Ave, Bendigo, whilst running the agency solely on generous professional volunteer labour.
In 2008, the organisation secured Federal Government funding to provide Financial Counselling and Emergency Relief Services. From this time, BFFS has fought to secure funding for each service and support it offers to the community. For example, in 2007, the organisation battled to receive funding to run a No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) in Bendigo as there was no one servicing this program in the region.
Five years later, BFFS was awarded for being the Victorian agency administering the most Good Shepherd No Interest Loan s Scheme loans (NILS), an award that was repeated for the next 3 years / till the Awards program concluded.
Bendigo Family and Financial Services Inc.(BFFS) core mission is to help break the cycles of material aid and generational poverty in Bendigo. BFFS provides one on one case management and community education programs and projects that provide better financial skills and services to our clients.
BFFS aims to build financial resilience and wellbeing among those at most risk of financial exclusion and disadvantage. We provide all services in a manner that encourages and supports each client towards better life choices, daily management of their income andfinancial resilience.
BFFS believes that by offering one on one financial and educational counselling clients are supported to understand their spending patterns. By providing clear and impartial information on how to best manage finances, with safe appropriate financial products available, we are able to build financial resilience and wellbeing. BFFS aims to strengthen the financial capacity of clients so they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to make effective financial decisions, gain income adequacy and equal access to systems for economic security, as well as instil the belief that clients are financially capable to be economically independent.
What makes BFFS unique is the combination of services and supports available under one roof. Once a client has come for a particular financial service, they can access all services we offer to address their financial needs, whether they are crisis, short or long term. Having these support systems in place whilst people tackle financial issues significantly enhances success in achieving their goals.