Residents on low incomes have access to safe, fair and affordable credit through the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS). There are no fees, no charges and no interest.

Volunteers provide the NILS at community centres throughout the Geelong region, including Cloverdale Community Centre in Purnell Road, Corio. Loans can be as little as $300 or as much as $1200.

Volunteer Board of Management member Wendy Patchett said NILS is supported by Good Shepherd Microfinance and NAB. It works through a process of circular community credit – when a borrower makes a repayment to NILS, money is then available to someone else in the community.

Wendy said loans are usually available for buying essential goods and services including household items like fridges, washing machines, stoves, freezers and some furniture. They can also help with car repairs, medical and dental services, as well as educational essentials such as computers, text books and the cost of some training courses.

To qualify for a loan, you must have a Health Care Card/Pension Card or be on a low income; have lived in your current premises for more than three months; and show a willingness and capacity to repay.

For more information, call 5229-8829. You’ll be contacted to let you know what you need to bring to an interview. After your interview, the loans committee will make an assessment of your application. If you’re approved for a loan, you’ll agree on fortnightly repayments over 12 to 18 months.

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