Coopers Foundation backs anti-poverty initiative

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An organisation helping isolated Australian households struggling with unmanageable debt is this year’s recipient of the Coopers Brewery Foundation’s Sustainable Giving Program.

The Coopers Brewery Foundation will provide Christians Against Poverty Australia (CAP) with a total of $150,000 over the next three years to help fund its Freeing Families: Community-led Debt Relief program.

Under the Freeing Families program, isolated individuals in metropolitan and regional areas facing high levels of poverty are provided with free and unconditional access to creditor advocates, financial educators and emotional support to help them develop their financial literacy and support their emotional wellbeing.

Coopers Brewery Foundation Chair, Ms Melanie Cooper, said CAP had been chosen by the Foundation’s Board of Governors from six short-listed charities in the family and community sector.

“The Board of Governors was highly impressed by the work of Christians Against Poverty and the role it plays, in conjunction with local churches, in helping vulnerable families and individuals reduce the impact of unmanageable debt,” she said.

“The Governors believe CAP’s work will make a significant difference in the community by helping reduce intergenerational poverty and is a key reason it was selected.”

CAP will be presented with $50,000 covering the first year of the program, in the next few weeks with a more formal presentation to be made at a Friends of the Foundation event in Adelaide next year.

The Interim CEO of CAP, Mr Phill Pickering, said the organisation was thrilled to have been selected for funding.

“Our work is about equipping churches to provide practical, long-lasting help to people in their local communities who are isolated and hurting,” he said.

“Poverty in Australia is often hidden and it robs people of their dignity in society. Many of the people we help have experienced financial, physical and emotional challenges that can spiral them deeper into poverty.

“One in three of our clients have considered or attempted suicide before coming to CAP while two in three have admitted to missing meals as a result of debt. Two thirds of clients say they are at risk of homelessness and more than a third have experienced relationship breakdown as a result of their financial position.

“The Coopers Brewery Foundation funding will enable us to establish seven new debt centres, working in conjunction with local churches, to train people to provide the financial and emotional support that vulnerable families and individuals need. We expect more than 530 vulnerable people will be supported as a result.

Ms Cooper said the Coopers Brewery Foundation would choose a charity from the youth education sector for funding next year. At that point the Foundation will be supporting three organisations simultaneously under its Sustainable Giving program.

Last year the Foundation selected the Australian Dental Outreach Foundation from the aged care, medical research or health care sector for support. The Foundation’s income is derived from non-operational fundraising efforts of the brewery, including tours, special events, recycling of waste materials and donations from corporate partners, shareholders and members of the public.

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