Bittersweet award for financial service


Jacaranda Community Centre chief executive Lyndsey Fitzgerald and financial administration officer Tracey Hamel with their award.
Jacaranda Community Centre chief executive Lyndsey Fitzgerald and financial administration officer Tracey Hamel with their award.

It was a bittersweet reward for staff, who lost $250,000 in funding for the service late last year.

Last week, Jacara-nda received the Richard Fletcher Award from the Department of Commerce, recognising its dedication to helping people experiencing financial and welfare difficulties.

Jacaranda was one of three standout winners recognised for advancing consumer rights at the 2016 Western Australian Consumer Protection Awards.

Jacaranda chief executive Lyndsey Fitzgerald said she was immensely proud of her staff, who remained dedicated and determined despite the funding cuts.

“I’m hoping with the award people will recognise we’re doing the best in the state and they’ll realise we’re worth funding,” she said.

“I’m glad we were recognised and I really appreciate the award from Consumer Protection.

“The State Government needs to look at the fact that more people are needing financial help and from different groups.”

“We know jobs are going… and we don’t have enough staff to help companies talk people through their options prior to them leaving,” she said.

While Jacaranda is limited in the services it can provide, it has worked hard to make the most of its available staff.

“We’ve all adjusted to keep as open as we can and see as many clients as we can.” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The clients are not reducing, we’re always booked two or three weeks in advance.”

Jacaranda started in a rented flat in March 2000 and in the 16 years since has expanded services and helped thousands.

It had the help of the local Aboriginal community and other volunteers, and eventually succeeded getting Lotterywest funding to move into its current office.