A FINANCIAL advice initiative helping people in, or at risk of, serious debt marked 30 years of service with an event celebrating its journey from humble beginnings.
Mabs, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, shone a light on its three decades in existence, hearing from those who have played a central role in the free organisation. Others speaking at the event held at the Triskel Arts Centre included former service users.
Ann-Marie Gaynor, who runs the blog Irish Budgeting Mammy, paid tribute to the service, which she said was responsible for helping her to overcome her debt worries.
Funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board, the organisation was established to support people in Ireland through confidential financial advice and budgeting services.
An exhibition documenting the journey of Mabs since its official opening is publicly available to view in the Atrium of Cork City Hall until May 13.
Over the past 30 years, Mabs has played a key role in the community across areas including money management education, free mortgage arrears support, and the formation of National Traveller Mabs, which aims to reduce poverty, discrimination, and the financial exclusion of Travellers. Mabs also played a role in raising awareness of policy and practice reforms needed locally and nationally.
Established in 1992, Mabs was introduced as part of a pilot scheme to address problems of moneylending and indebtedness. Its first offices were located in Cork City, Limerick, Dublin, Waterford, and Clare. The organisation now boasts 51 offices and outreach clinics nationwide.
“As the cost of living continues to rise, now more than ever, it is essential that the public has access to a free, confidential, and non-judgmental advice service,” said Fiona Coyne, CEO of the Citizens Information Board.
Mabs had received a total of 326,994 calls at the end of last year following the launch of its national helpline in 2007.
“We are very proud to look back on all that has been achieved over the past 30 years in supporting the public to prevent and deal with problem debt,” said Ursula Collins, regional manager of South Munster Mabs. “Our team of money advisers have played instrumental roles in their communities, supporting clients with their individual financial situations. A huge amount has been achieved since 1992 and there is a lot more to achieve over the next 30 years.”
- Visit www.mabs.ie or call the helpline on 0818 07 2000, available Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm. Find them on Twitter @MABSinfo and Facebook.