ICAN Connect kicks off in Weipa

ICAN and Weipa Community Care join forces to provide financial counselling and capability services for Weipa and surrounding communities.

A new partnership for Cape York communities

ICAN is excited to announce our new partnership with Weipa Community Care thanks to the generous funding provided by the Ecstra Foundation. Our collaboration will give remote Indigenous communities across Cape York access to much needed financial counselling services through our ‘ICAN Connect’ program.

ICAN Connect allows Weipa Community Care staff, who are on the ground in Cape communities, to act as intermediary supports for ICAN financial counsellors and people receiving much needed financial counselling services.

Jillian Williams, ICAN Operations Manager, explains, “The two agencies will trial a new model of financial counselling, with a greater emphasis on connecting people via online video conferencing.  We aim to reduce the multiple barriers to services experienced by remote Indigenous communities, barriers which were compounded when communities were locked down as a result of Covid-19.”

L to R: ICAN’s Majella Anderson, Carmen Hegarty and Sharon Edwards.

First stop, Weipa

To kick off our partnership, Majella Anderson and Carmen Hegarty from ICAN’s Yarnin’ Money team recently travelled to the Cape York communities of Weipa, Mapoon, and Napranum to deliver Yarnin’ Money training to Weipa Community Care staff and clients.  ICAN Financial Counsellor, Sharon Edwards also joined the trip, providing face-to-face financial counselling support to clients.

The team spent the first day in Weipa taking the Community Care staff through the Yarnin’ Money Service Providers training, that provides an understanding of financial literacy education.  

Majella Anderson, ICAN Learn Training Facilitator, said, “the training is also a great way of raising awareness about everyday financial traps, such as how a client’s seemingly harmless ‘small’ loan can quickly escalate into a huge debt, and what causes that to happen.”

Resilience and determination

The next stops on the itinerary were Napranum and Mapoon, where the ICAN team delivered ‘Yarning Money with the Mob’ training – a financial literacy course for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community residents – to Weipa Community Care clients.

Participants found the budgeting tool gave them a new way to think about money, with common feedback such as ‘the training has made me think before I do or accept something I’m not sure of’; and ‘I want to make my own budget to keep track of my spending and encourage other families and friends to do this training’.

“This trip shows once again the financial hardships that people in remote communities experience on a daily basis, and the financial decisions they are constantly making to ensure the money lasts”, said Majella.  “It also highlighted how families and communities have to survive those financial hardships by working together and sharing their resources, whether it’s food, housing, or transport.”

“The resilience and determination that I saw and heard in people’s stories made me appreciate my own life and acknowledge and appreciate how I have had overcome my own financial hardships.”

A shared vision

Jillian Williams said, “the partnership between ICAN and Weipa Community Care Association recognises the mutual benefits of coordinated service delivery between independent organisations under a shared vision, to support greater access to financial counselling services for Cape communities.

We are also excited to have one of the fantastic Weipa Community Care team undertaking the Diploma of Financial Counselling (CHC51115) through our registered training organisation, ICAN Learn.

ICAN is looking forward to working closely with Weipa Community Care staff to improve the financial lives of people in the Cape communities.”