“Saver Plus has meant an amazing change in my life – I have learnt to save from a background of nothing…I have never felt so proud of anything in my life” says Julie from Shepparton, in Victoria’s northeast, a participant in an award winning program developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the ANZ Bank.
This award-winning financial literacy program helps low-income earners set and achieve a savings goal, build a longterm savings habit and gain $2 for every $1 saved towards their children’s education costs. The goal is to establish a successful savings model that can be adopted and implemented by other organisations round Australia.
The first savings period has seen 257 families in Victoria and NSW receive more than $480,000 in matched funds. $1 million has been committed to the second savings period.
RMIT Uni’s evaluation of the program has found, apart from building financial knowledge and confidence, it increases self esteem, family unity and support networks and brings a greater sense of control over the future.
Since the launch in Frankston, July 2003, the Saver Plus partnership has been extended to include Berry Street Victoria and The Benevolent Society who helped deliver the first savings period in Shepparton, Victoria and Campbelltown, New South Wales respectively. Most recently, The Smith Family has joined the partnership in South East Queensland.
In July 2004 the Saver Plus partnership was recognised as the Victorian winner of the Large Business Category in the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships. Saver Plus is now a finalist for the national award.
ANZ people are also involved – frontline staff helping with participants and in developing software to track participant progress.
To be eligible for recruitment in 2005 participants must:
(1)be a parent /guardian of a student(s) attending a government secondary school in 2006 (in the pilot regions mentioned above)
(2)have a current Health Care or Pension Card
(3)have a regular income from paid employment and be able to produce 2 pay slips
(4)be able to demonstrate a capacity to save after regular expenses have been paid.
Matched funds provided by ANZ are capped at $2000 per account.
For more info visit the Brother of St Laurence website www.bsl.org.au
OR the ANZ website www.anz.com/aus/aboutanz/Community/Programs/Saver.asp