Some asylum seekers and refugees are so traumatized by their experience of the abuse of authority in their homeland that they are too scared to even go to the bank, says Mark Brophy, who manages the Williamstown Community Education Centre.

The Williamstown Community Education Centre is now able to run a financial literacy course thanks to seed funding through a grant from the Hobsons Bay Community Fund.

“These people are coming from countries where maybe at times they’ve been authoritarian and so they’re quite nervous and they’re not confident to go to banks because bureaucracies in their country were maybe a bit strict and could have negative consequences.

“They come to us with everything from divorce settlements to rental contracts to online sales to paying bills – it’s difficult for someone …to understand some bills and administration.”

Applications are open for this year’s round of grants through the Hobsons Bay Community Fund. Applications close 31 May.

Grants committee chairman David Mattner said the Hobsons Bay Community Fund uses interest from its corpus to award small grants of $500-$5000 to local organisations and associations.

“The Hobsons Bay Community Fund believes that by working together, we can benefit and reinforce our community’s capacity to look after itself for present and future generations.”