In the run up to and during the UK’s first Financial Capability Week, taking place between 14 – 20 November, we’ll be publishing a series of guest blogs related to financial capability. These blogs will showcase the great work that numerous organisations are doing to improve the low levels of financial capability across the UK.
Our first blog comes from Making Money Count’s Liz Stannard. Making Money Count is a project based in Fenland, which aims to help people feel more confident and better able to access the support and services they need to make the most of their money. To submit a blog on financial capability, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Money is individual – for each person, their feelings, skills and confidence in relation to dealing with their money will vary widely, as will their circumstances, life opportunities and health. We take that as our starting point in Making Money Count – we have no preconceptions and no fixed answers but we are curious and intensely focused on supporting people to make the most of what they have.
We are also practical. We won’t talk about theory but we will find ways to help people experience successes or ‘gains’ that matter to them – this is often financial – most of the people we work with live on very low incomes so gains of a few £’s make a big difference – but we don’t restrict ourselves just to monetary gains – knowing how to look up information, talk on the phone to a benefits advisor, challenge a sanction or query a charge are all ways to feel more in control and for us all a part of the financial capability work that we do.
Working in a rural area we have found that enabling people to access the internet safely and reliably has a particular benefit in terms of making gains – money and personal – from practical solutions such as arranging home deliveries for shopping, to finding better deals, getting connected to services and researching work and training opportunities. We help people experience this by lending equipment and internet access and backing up with one to one support and reflection on the difference being experienced before someone makes a decision to invest themselves – we even offer a savings incentive tied in to our support to help increase the impact of the gain!
We know that making change in how you do things takes time and headspace – we do our best to create this in the conversations we have and the times that we deliver our work – we focus on moments of change – particularly moving home as we have found that being in a new environment can literally stimulate new thinking and a willingness to look at things afresh.
We keep up this creative push with our free Love your home events – a simple way to get involved in practical and creative activities to make your own space and feel more connected.
We are very glad to see a national financial capability week and will be having an event linked to all of the above which brings together our money, digital and creative support in a fun event on 15 November at Queen Mary Centre Wisbech. We will also be talking during the week about why being practical and personal about money really matters.
For more about our work and approach go to www.makingmoneycount.org.uk
Making Money Count is funded by the Big Lottery Improving Financial Confidence programme and is a partnership of Circle Housing Roddons, CHS Group, Citizens Advice Rural Cambs and Fenland District Council