Today, over 300 delegates will attend a 30th Anniversary event in Dublin Castle to celebrate thirty years of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) serving local communities around Ireland. The conference provides an opportunity to reflect back on the many achievements of MABS over the years, as well as a space for MABS staff from around the country to come together, network and prepare for the challenges of future.
A number of former and current MABS clients will give the conference morning keynote address, sharing their personal stories and the ways that MABS has influenced their lives. This will include client testimonials through audio recordings as well as an in-person panel discussion chaired by Karl Cronin, Regional Manager of North Connacht and Ulster MABS.
A second panel will follow the keynote address, featuring six high profile speakers who will discuss their standout moments and experiences of MABS over the years and their hopes and aspirations for the future of the MABS network. These speakers include the following: Honourable Judge Colin Daly, Paul Joyce (Senior Policy Analyst with FLAC), Ciara Murray (Barrister at Law), Tricia Keilthy (Head of Social Justice at St Vincent de Paul) Liam Edwards (a MABS founding member), and Maria McCaul (current MABS Support staff member with over 34 years of money advice experience). This panel will be chaired by Sinead Ryan (RTE).
Conference delegates will also have the opportunity to hear an opening address from Fiona Coyne, CEO of the Citizen’s Information Board (CIB) and a pre-recorded message by the Minister of Social Protection, Heather Humphries. A number of representatives from partner organisations will also wish a ‘Happy Birthday’ to MABS via video message. These organisations include the Central Bank, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), Irish Banking and Cultural Board (IBCB), the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), Community Law & Mediation (CLM), the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) and a number of energy providers, including Bord Gais, Energia and PrePay Power.
The afternoon of the conference will feature a presentation entitled ‘Change is Possible’ by motivational speaker Brian Pennie and a closing address from Catherine Heaney, chair of the Citizen’s Information Board (CIB). The conference will conclude with a networking event for current MABS staff and invited stakeholders from other public, community-based and service delivery organisations. This event will also include an opportunity to view the MABS 30th exhibition that was first displayed following the National Exhibition Launch event in Cork on the 9 May 2022.
This conference is timely and provides a much-needed opportunity to bring MABS staff, both past and present, and partner-organisations together. Today, the dramatic increase to the cost of living is driving people to the MABS service. August 2022 was the busiest month on record for the MABS Helpline, with the majority of clients looking for support covering household energy costs and utility bills. The conference provides a valuable space to collectively celebrate and reflect on the history of MABS and to discuss the valuable lessons learned. This reflection and consideration is necessary in order to ensure that MABS rises to meet present challenges and continues to respond effectively to the needs of clients.
Here are some photos of MABS staff, colleagues, former clients, presenters and guest speakers. Thank you to everyone who attended.