On Monday 15 January, this year’s ‘Blue Monday’, we took part in an event run by homeless charity Porchlight to launch their new ‘Managing Your Money’ fortnight.
Blue Monday is well known for being the most depressing day of the year. It is when we are feeling the most run down and when we are really feeling the pinch after spending big at Christmas and the first pay check of the New Year still seems miles away. Porchlight and The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF) are among the organisations trying to find a more positive outlook for Blue Monday.
Porchlight work with some of the most vulnerable people in Kent: individuals and families who are struggling with homelessness or insecure housing. It would be all too easy to feel like Blue Monday can only add to the worries of people in such a difficult situation, but by tackling a small part of it, we can make a lasting and effective difference. With Universal Credit and issues like an insecure market for private rented accommodation causing additional pressure; being adaptable, confident and resilient when it comes to money management is vital.
At the Social Hub, we were lucky to meet with both Porchlight clients and Porchlight staff from across Kent over a bowl of stew and a few games of table tennis. Porchlight are currently offering LIBF’s LiFE programme (Lessons in Financial Education) which is delivered entirely online and accessible on tablets, computers and smartphones. This means clients can access LiFE whether they are at a hostel, the library, a social hub or moving into private or supported accommodation. Talking to clients and staff together in a relaxed environment gave everyone the space to share what works for them, and enabled us to plan how LiFE can reach further within Porchlight.
Speaking to Kieran (21), pictured, the first of Porchlight’s clients to complete the LiFE programme, we were inspired to hear how he was looking forward to putting his new knowledge and attitudes to use as he prepares to move into a flat with a couple of his friends. Kieran is also looking to undertake the formal qualification, the Level 1 LiFE Award, before moving on to the Level 2 LiFE Certificate, helping him transition back into work and potentially towards further education. Speaking to Kieran alongside other clients who had not yet seen LiFE gave us the opportunity to share his success and his ambition, and for other clients to ask “How can I do that too?”
We can’t wait to see the progress that new learners from Porchlight make, and that Kieran continues to make as he moves out from the Porchlight hostel and into independent living. This fortnight will give a kick start to a longer term programme, and we are hoping that by this summer, Porchlight and The London Institute of Banking & Finance will be holding a celebratory trip to London to award certificates for the first cohort of learners to complete the programme.
Find out more about Porchlight and the work they do throughout Kent, and more about the LiFE Programme and our work in the community.
If you are interested in running LiFE in your charity or other organisation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org