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By Peter Douglas

After eight years of providing invaluable community assistance, the Cockatoo and Hills ‘No Interest Loan Scheme’ (NILS) recently celebrated its 1000th loan.
At the Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre in Cockatoo, staff, volunteers and supporters gathered on Wednesday 15 November to mark the milestone.
From small beginnings in 2009, when five loans were approved in the first year, the program has grown considerably stronger.
NILS now works with 10 client support programs throughout the southern metropolitan region and approves close to 50 loans per month.
Manager Sue Barbieri said the program filled a great need in the community.
“Our program gives many clients the opportunity to feel a great sense of pride and satisfaction, knowing that their loan has been repaid in 12 months and they now fully own goods such as refrigerator or washing machine, or they have been able to cover the cost of undertaking a training course that has led to employment,” she said.
“One family recently made contact when they needed to get the family car on the road. They had two rental contracts out on furniture they were purchasing and it was borderline whether they would qualify for a NILS loan.
“The assessment committee decided to approve his loan and his car was repaired and registered.
“The loan was paid off without one missing payment and the family was proud to have accomplished this.”
To celebrate the 1000th loan, Ms Barbieri and Cardinia Shire councillor Leticia Wilmot cut a specially decorated cake.

*If you are on a low income and need a loan of up to $1500 to cover expenses, contact Ms Barbieri on 0427 895 596.
Expenses can include items such as the cost of whitegoods, furniture, car repairs, educational requirements or health/dental needs.

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