Overcoming small life barriers.

It all comes down to those small things that sometimes become big things.

And it's about people making their way past those small things to get life back on track.

That's the picture painted by the Salvation Army in Tauranga with its new loans scheme.

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Salvation Army staff hear the stories from people throughout the Bay when small things stop people from feeling in control of their lives and making progress to achieving life goals.

So the Salvation Army did something about it, joining forces with Good Shepherd, BNZ Bank and the Ministry of Social Development. It' is called the Salvation Army's No Interest Loan scheme, more commonly known as NILs. There are no fees, no interest and no charges and anyone in Tauranga can apply.

The maximum amount generally available for the loan is $1000. Past credit history is not necessarily a barrier if past debts are being addressed.

Salvation Army Welfare Services manager for Tauranga Davina Plummer says the loans are designed as a second chance for people to get over life's hurdles.

"Our no-interest loans are transforming people's lives for the better," she says.

"Some of our people have used the money for loans to get up-skilled with new training courses. Others have used the loans to buy a laptop to help their family with after-hours study at home. Others have needed help with necessary items around the house from prams to fridges."

Bay woman, who only wants to be known as Chantal, had her life changed after one of the Salvation Army loan. She needed help to get her car repaired.

"I needed the family car to be reliable to help transport my son to rugby practice, my daughter to kindy and to get me to training. Public transport couldn't get all three of us where we needed to go safely and reliably," Chantal said.

The small barrier was soon rectified with the help of a NILs loan and now with the car repaired, Chantel and family are in charge of their own destiny.

"It was a small hurdle, but we are now able to get on with managing family life better and we are on track to pay back the loan on time."

A second loan programme, the StepUP loan, provides funding up to $5000 and can be paid back in three years.

The Salvation Army loans programme is provided on a not-for-profit basis and recipients need to show that they are eligible for it.

Davina Plummer says the loan programme is designed as a hand up, not a hand out for people across the Tauranga area.

The Salvation Army is also calling for extra help this week.
Their annual Red Shield Appeal is on this week from April 30 to May 6. The appeal raises funds to support its frontline services tackling poverty in New Zealand.

After a positive response from the public last year, it is sending out the call again, offering the public the chance to join for an hour or more at various collection points around Tauranga supermarkets between Monday April 30 and Saturday May 6.

Salvation Army Community Engagement manager Rhondda Middleton says the Army is grateful for people who gave their time to collect in the past, and the strong backing the appeal receives from the public each year.

"Your generous donation of time will give people more chances to give and help The Salvation Army to support more New Zealanders living in poverty."

People who want to sign up as a collector can go to The Salvation Army's website, www.salvationarmy.org.nz, Rhondda says.

'They just have to fill out a form and be ready and willing to help The Salvation Army, and we will do the rest.'

The Sallies help more than 60,000 families who are struggling to make ends meet. Support is wide-ranging and includes food and practical aid parcels, budgeting advice, social work, counselling and accommodation assistance.