Melinda Moore Acting Director Community Programs at BSL says the Saver Plus program has a lasting and sometimes life changing impact on participants.
“Research shows many participants go on to establish a lasting savings habit that sees them achieve their financial goals and improve their financial wellbeing,” she says.
Single mum program participant Jill from Pascoe Vale in Victoria says she began the program to help save for her own home.
"I lost my job unfortunately due to COVID-19. As a single mum of two, I was sort of living week to week,” Jill says.
“Saver Plus helped me improve my financial health and I feel empowered because now I know exactly what to do if a financial challenge comes up,” she says. “I've also started encouraging my daughters to save in a money box so they can see the money accumulate and learn the value of money. Even though I lost my job, I managed to save a substantial amount of money and my long-term goal is to buy my own house."
Many participants like Jill have gone on to achieve bigger goals over time. Before the program, part-time flight attendant Lisa* was conservative with her money, but she didn't have a savings account. "I've always been pretty savvy with money, however the matched savings was the deciding factor for me to join, it was a huge amount," she admits.
Saver Plus gave Lisa a savings goal to work towards with a weekly amount that worked within her budget. As her savings grew over the years, she felt a real sense of pride and accomplishment.
When Lisa's daughter started to do really well in school, her motivation to save for her university costs kicked into high gear and she increased her weekly savings amount from $15 to $50 a week, an amount she thought was not possible on a minimal wage.
Over time Lisa saved more than $11K and surprised her daughter with the savings as a gift to help pay for her uni costs. "I'm so proud to be able to provide this for her,” she says. “I never had that sort of thing."
Michelle Commandeur, Head of Financial Inclusion and Community Engagement says it’s pleasing to see the program continue to deliver long term outcomes for participants even after 18 years.
“Partnership is key to the success of Saver Plus, we’re grateful to be working with our community partners such as the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Berry Street and The Smith Family on this program. I’d also like to thank and acknowledge the Australian Government for their role in our cross-sector partnership – providing funding to the Brotherhood of St Laurence and other community organisations to enable Saver Plus to be delivered in communities across Australia,” Michelle says.