Mary Errity (MABS), Sarah McDonagh, Mary McInerney, Bridgie McInerney, Pinkie McInerney
Primary Health Care workers from Offaly Traveller Movement received certificates for completing a money-management community education course with Tullamore Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) last week. The course aimed at promoting sustainable money management in the community and improving access into MABS.
The community education programme was a joint initiative between organisations that provide crucial services to the local community. The Primary Health Care team in Offaly Traveller Movement is a community development peer-led health initiative. It provides a range of health information, advocacy and advice to members of the Travelling community. MABS is a free, independent, confidential, and non-judgemental advice service for people who are having difficulties managing money or are in debt.
Mary Errity, Money Advice Coordinator for South Leinster (Tullamore) MABS, facilitated four sessions with a group of 6 Primary Health Care workers. The training covered money management, budgeting for households, saving, borrowing and dealing with debt. It also included a visit from Offaly Citizens Information Centre where participants got the opportunity to ask an Information Officer questions about how rent is calculated, different grants that are available, welfare, and the Citizens Information service. Participants on the course said: “The best thing about this course was that it was so clear and easy to understand”, and “Now that we have done the course we are better able to help Travellers in debt and more likely to advise them to use the MABS service because we met the people and we trust them.”
Mary Errity from Tullamore MABS said “I found the group to be extremely welcoming, interactive and open to discussion. I learned a lot about financial difficulties encountered by some members of the Traveller community, particularly the very high energy costs. Many people are reliant on gas for heat and cooking with the large cylinders, taking a huge chunk out of any weekly income or payment. It was a pleasure to work with this group and I hope that after our sessions the Primary Health Care Workers feel comfortable referring others to the MABS service”.
Community education has been a cornerstone of the work of MABS for more than twenty years. It is key to building positive relationships between MABS and the local community, and can also play an important role in preventing families or individuals from getting into financial difficulties.
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