Wesley Financial Counselling was first established as Wesley CreditLine in 1980 in response to an increasing number of calls to Wesley Mission’s Lifeline telephone counselling service that were financially based problems. Funding was obtained from the NSW Department of Community Services and Wesley CreditLine was set up.
This service is now funded and supported by the Office of Fair Trading (State) and Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (Commonwealth).
From the outset it was clear that Wesley CreditLine was a valued and much needed service. Some milestones have been achieved:
- Wesley CreditLine developed specialty expertise in the field of consumer bankruptcy and provided consultancy to the Federal Attorney General’s Department. With the support of the Law Foundation, Wesley CreditLine published The Bankruptcy Handbook, a key reference book for Financial Counsellors and other community workers.
- In 1992 we set up and operated the Home Fund Financial Counselling and Advice Service throughout New South Wales, a service available on a face-to-face basis for every Home Fund borrower in the state. Travelling teams of Financial Counsellors, after specialised training, visited every area in New South Wales. More than 6,000 consumers took advantage of the service over two years.
- We provided articles for each edition of the Consumer Rights Journal and New Directions, the leading insolvency journal published by the Federal Attorney General’s Department.
- We obtained funding and sponsorship for an isolated workers conference in Wollongong in November 2000, bringing together for the first time isolated Financial Counsellors from throughout Australia to discuss common problems and ways to cope with the isolation and difficulties.
- We established an excellent working liaison with finance industry groups which has resulted in the successful monitoring of industry practices (both financial counselling and financial industry), resulting in the development of solutions which meet the needs of consumers and the needs of industry.
- Wesley CreditLine established community based gambling counselling in Australia in 1981 as an adjunct to financial counselling. Wesley CreditLine developed the model for gambling counselling based on the use of financial counselling as a tool for the early identification of gambling problems and as a vital strategy in the treatment of gamblers, the model later adopted by most states in Australia.
- Wesley CreditLine submitted a successful application to the Casino Benefit Trust in 1997 for funding to establish the world’s first comprehensive gambling counselling service—providing personal gambling counselling, family therapy, financial counselling, training for gambling counsellors and a legal service for gamblers and their families. By 1998 this had grown to the extent that we spun off the gambling service to operate as a centre with its own identity—Wesley Gambling Counselling.
Today Wesley Financial Counselling is one of the leading financial counselling services in Australia.