Interest free loan scheme has helped with car registrations to providing false teeth

NICCI client support worker Daniel Brokenborough at his Bulli Community Centre desk. Daniel says interest free loans can be provided from everything from whitegoods to medical procedures for those ‘doing it tough’.

RESIDENTS of the Woonona Bulli area doing it tough financially can apply for an interest free loan of up to $1500 through a scheme on offer by Northern Illawarra Community Connections Inc (NICCI).

NICCI client support worker Daniel Brokenborough the interest free loans can be for whitegoods, furniture, medical procedures, computers, tablets, car registration and repairs and other items by request.

“We’ve all been in a situation where we go into a panic over finances,” Mr Brokenborough said.

“You realise the car is due for registration and the bills are piling up. The washing machine shuts down a quarter of the way through a cycle and starts making a weird beeping noise.

“Both of the kids’ laptops have stopped working and school starts again next week. How on earth are we going to raise over a thousand dollars for any of this stuff? That’s where the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) comes in.”

Mr Brokenborough said the process is simple and surprisingly fast.

“You just have to gather supporting documents and do a quick budget interview so we can assess your ability to make the fortnightly repayments.,” he said.

“If the loan is approved by our assessors, the money gets transferred directly to the provider of the product or service.”

NILS began in 1981 when The Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Victoria saw that financial services weren’t available to people on low incomes.

“They had been providing social services in Australia since 1863 so through tenacity and a willingness to take a risk they managed to obtain some tentative funding to see if their program would work,” he said.

“Funders doubted that the loans would be paid back, but the sisters faith in the goodness of people was vindicated and 40 years later thousands of people have benefited from NILS.”

Mr Brokenborough said during his time at NICCI, NILS has helped save a support dog’s life, get a set of false teeth for a father whose son was getting married, and lay a family member to rest at the start of the COVID 19 lockdowns.

“Just as importantly, we have helped keep a lot of cars safe and roadworthy when previously these repairs would have been unaffordable,” he said.

“Many of our clients return every year to re-register their car to avoid the stress of raising hundreds of dollars to keep it on the road.

“The loan term can be from 6 to 18 months and the repayments can be deducted directly from your Centrelink payment or bank account.

“In an environment where high interest Payday loans are ridiculously easy to get and far more difficult to pay off, NILS is there to help get back on track and climb out of financial hardship.”

If you or someone you know might be interested in a NILS loan, Mr Brokenborough would like to hear from you.

Give NILS a call on (02) 42831693 or email to ask any questions you might have and to book an appointment.

NILS is located at the Bulli Community Centre at 328 Princes Hwy Bulli and appointments can be held in a Covid safe environment at the centre or over the phone.

The Bulli Community Centre is a community service provided by Northern Illawarra Community Connections Inc.(NICCI) which is funded by the State Department of Family and Community Services to meet the community support and development needs of the Bulli/Woonona communities.

The Community Centre building at 328 Princes Highway Bulli is provided by Wollongong City Council. In addition, a range of Centre programs are funded through government and community grants, including Clubs NSW funding.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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