Over the last decade and a half our small team has worked alongside families and households mainly in east London, whilst it has also trained over 1,500 frontline workers from around 650 other organisations around the UK in our approach.
As Made of Money passes these delivery milestones, QSA is looking at how best we can respond to the current cost of living crisis.
Made of Money's approach
To the best of our knowledge QSA’s Made of Money team was the first UK provider of financial capability support to recognise the importance of factors such as emotions and childhood influences in shapng each individual’s particular financial behaviour. Established over 15 years ago, Made of Money operates on a theory of change that financial capability requires much more than knowing how to budget: it invites all of us as individuals to understand the influences on our own financial behaviour.
Our evaluation has found that, by exploring issues such as family background, personal values and attitudes through fun and engaging Made of Money sessions and resources, people become much more conscious of the influences on their own financial decisions and how they can positively shape them. This provides the confidence and motivation to apply the practical money management skills that people also learn in Made of Money programmes.
Cost of living crisis
At QSA we are acutely aware of the worsening cost of living crisis in the UK, with the energy price cap increasing by 54% from the start of April, and inflation expected to rise to over 7% this spring. The unfolding, desperate tragedy in Ukraine is also likely to have further knock-on effects on UK energy prices and overall inflation. The Office for National Statistics warns that “energy price rises are likely to hit lower income households disproportionately, as they spend a higher proportion of their income on utility bills and are more likely to be in fuel poverty.”
This issue has been further analysed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, whilst the Food Foundation has found that an increasing number of people in the UK are facing situations in which they cannot afford to meet their basic needs.
Evolving our approach
QSA is thinking hard about what more we can do to support people in this situation, and the Made of Money team has been seeking views from local people in east London who are affected by these issues. After all, when expenses simply outstrip income, it is hard to feel confident in your money, no matter how well you manage it. This can act as a disincentive for engaging in financial education programmes. QSA recently shared similar insights with the Centre for Social Justice as part of its inquiry into financial education.
“Developing services that local people feel support them towards living fulfilling lives, in extremely hard times, not just to exist but to thrive, has to be at the heart of taking Made of Money forward.
As we move further into a digital world, amidst this context of huge financial challenges for Londoners, there’s also a huge challenge for services to recognise and overcome the diverse barriers many people will face simply to access services. And we need to keep this awareness if we want our work to reach its potential.”
Carrie Comfort, Made of Money manager.
We are proud of the milestones achieved by Made of Money, and the impact it has had in influencing the practice of other organisations through our short training courses. The project will continue to evolve in response to need.