Lessons in Financial Education (LiFE) is an accessible e-learning programme which allows the most vulnerable people to gain financial capability and confidence on their own terms and at their own pace.
The initial focus for the team had been to talk to service providers in the community and show them how the LiFE programme can benefit the children, young people and adults they support.
LiFE is flexible, and goes beyond the traditional classroom environment, attempting to remove all barriers to learning. As LiFE is self delivered, learners can decide where and when to log on, without the need for a teacher to guide them.
The LiFE team chose to reach out to three groups initially; the homeless, children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and disability) and families living with domestic abuse.
Great progress has already been made, and relationships have developed with the following organisations:
The Salvation Army: Sam Godden presented at their annual event recently at their headquarters in London. Their Financial Inclusion Development Manager can see how LiFE can be used within their ministry work, either via their Debt Advice Service, their homeless centres or their church and youth groups.
Citizens Advice (Southwark): we have just secured funding for 500 learners to access LiFE at their fifteen digital hubs. We will be hosting their next Financial Capability forum meeting in June which will allow them to have a play with LiFE in the e-test room, and is an opportunity to meet more people involved in Financial Capability.
Porchlight: A homeless charity based in Kent has registered 13 learners for LiFE, with ages ranging from 18 to 65. We aim to meet with them in the coming months to see how they are getting on, and what impact the programme has had on the learners.
SNAAP (Special Needs Advisory and Activities Project): have registered 9 learners for LiFE-both parents and their children. The key workers are also going through the programme and providing expert feedback on the LiFE SEND guide, which is currently in development.
Pathway: A Homeless charity based in London. They have signed up two Care Navigator Apprentices - people with lived experience of homelessness who are training to work as peer support workers, to see how it will fit in with the work that Pathway does.
Rising Sun Domestic Abuse Charity: will be signing up three members of staff who will be the ‘go to’ person for LiFE. This means their young male, female and adult service users will have a dedicated person to seek help from when they are ready to start LiFE. Often people in abusive relationships have had little or no control of their finances and need a lot of support.
Barnardos: staff will be attending our LiFE CPD event in July to see how it can fit in with their existing Financial Capability project in London. They currently run workshops and offer one to one support to vulnerable young people.
Finally we have become members of nasen, The National Association for Special Educational Needs and news about our outreach work will appear in the June edition of ‘Connect’ magazine.
To ensure the outreach team understand how to best forge and manage relationships with all stakeholders of charities and community groups they have attended training sessions with ‘Catching Lives’, a local homeless charity covering topics such as Mental Health Awareness and Introduction to Counselling.
Working with vulnerable people brings with it many complex challenges and care has to be taken when attempting to start a conversation with them about personal money management. Later this year we will be attending conferences on Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Addressing Homelessness.
As well as promoting the benefits of LiFE, staff have been busy organising volunteer days in the community, a group of keen gardeners will be helping at The Pilgrims Hospice at the end of May. Another group are planning to help Catching Lives cook for rough sleepers in June.