A Record Bring Your Bills Day in Woy Woy
Recently I wrote about EWON outreach events I’d attended earlier this year, but I’ve been inspired to write on the same topic again by the resounding success of our latest Bring Your Bills Day as the significance of the day has stayed with me in the weeks since.
Over 200 residents from the Woy Woy area on the NSW Central Coast flooded into the Coast Community Connections centre on Thursday 11 April 2019 to attend the event. One of the exhibitors compared seeing the wave of people entering the venue to being at a ‘Black Friday’ sale.
Over 100 people received help with energy issues, either from EWON or from one of the four energy retailers there on the day. Many people queued to speak to their retailer hoping to be offered an affordable payment plan or receiving other assistance, such as having rebates applied to their account or accessing Energy Account Payment Assistance.
We were joined by 20 other services, including Revenue NSW, the Office of Environment and Heritage, Australian Financial Complaints Authority, Service NSW, the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and the Department of Human Services. Residents received help with issues ranging from tenancy, financial and legal issues to outstanding fines, cancelled licences and much more.
Talking to people at the event, I was moved by the individual stories and the need for ongoing assistance in this area. I was encouraged by how many people left with a sense of relief and a smile on their faces.
Since February this year EWON has partnered with Coast Community Connections to run monthly ‘Bring Your Bills’ sessions. Residents can book appointments to receive one-on-one support from our Investigations Officer, close to home in a place they feel comfortable. And it is clear that the centre is trusted and valued by residents.
The time EWON’s outreach team has spent some time with the Central Coast community and that has obviously paid off. But we undoubtedly have Coast Community Connections to thank for the success of the Bring Your Bills Day. Its considered approach in planning the event was outstanding – from the lovely scones donated by the Woy Woy Country Women’s Association and Salvo’s catering, to the 'giving area' and the space for children to play, and most importantly a clothing and goods market with one special feature – no check out!
It is inspiring to bring our services to local communities and great to see them embraced so wholeheartedly.