Northwest's No Interest Loan Scheme hands out 900th cheque

Northwest's No Interest Loan Scheme handed out its 900th cheque — to Rhonda Wilson — at Baulkham Hills Community Centre recently.

In the current financial year Hills Community Aid (HCA) handed out 189 of these cheques.

NILS (No Interest Loans Scheme) was developed by the Good Shepherd Microfinance 32 years ago.

The program was devised for those on low incomes who find it difficult to save, and are unable to take out loans through banks for essential household goods and services.

HCA executive officer Ben Jackson said it was a good way to get through tough times.

Latest recipient, Ms Rhonda Wilson was presented with a $1000 cheque by Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott for a new refrigerator and a vacuum cleaner.

This is Ms Wilson's third payment from the program. She has already bought a lounge, mattress and flat-screen TV through the scheme.

"NILS is my saviour," she said.

"Paying rent and general expenses is hard enough while trying to save for the things that you just need."

Although Ms Wilson has been able to purchase various necessities, she said it taught her how to save.

The NILS program handed out their first no interest loan in May 2006 and it was used on a fridge: 11 per cent of loans today go to families who need a new fridge.

NILS also helps borrowers improve their savings and budgeting skills and keeps those not eligible for commercial credit or only at unaffordable high interest rates away from loan sharks and fringe lenders.

■ Details: Hills Community Aid on 9639 8620 or nils@hca.org.au.

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