Community money for families may dry up

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

GLADSTONE's Community Advisory Service is fast running out of money to support local families in need.

The Community Advisory Service uses a federal government grant of about $27,000 each year to purchase food, clothing and other necessities for struggling families.

However manager Chris Cook said due to the high level of demand in Gladstone the funds were almost used up.

'We usually budget quite well, but this year there has been so much need,' she said. 'The need is there to be able to give double.'

Ms Cook said there were some families in Gladstone who depended on the advisory service to survive.

'We are there when a family hits the wall,' she said. 'It really is quite a problem in Gladstone there are those who really struggle.'

Ms Cook said the advisory service would apply for more federal funding next financial year, but until thenwould have to cut back its community contributions to the bare essentials, with available funds expected to run out in the near future.

In March The Observer reported that the Community Advisory Service recently had had a major increase in the number of counselling cases.

Figures indicated that the number of people referred to the service for counselling increased more than seven times since 2004.

The federal funding is given to local families which are seen to be struggling, while the general running costs of the Community Advisory Service are subsidised by the council at a cost of more than $200,000 a year.

The Community Advisory Service provides counselling, tenancy advice and multicultural affairs services.



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