Advice and support for people needing help with managing money
This programme is designed to provide advice and support for people needing help with managing money, designed to empower them to have the confidence to manage their income, make positive decisions with their money, understand the implications of work on managing a budget, as well as the financial support that’s available to them.
Good financial skills remove a barrier and increase confidence, allowing people to focus on other areas of their life, better maintain or gain employment and maintain housing and relationships. The impact of not understanding how to maintain and manage a budget is wider than on the bank account - it affects confidence, mental health, relationships, housing and employment.
This programme will provide a tailored package of advice, information, guidance and coaching support, individually planned and designed to enable each participant to work towards addressing their financial concerns and help them to resolve any financial barriers to a life well lived.
Each participant will be introduced to a dedicated Social Welfare Adviser who will remain with them throughout the programme. They will receive information about what they can expect on enrolment, along with the information they’ll need to bring to their first appointment.;
An initial confidential discussion will allow the adviser to assess the participant’s financial circumstances and identify their support needs and goals. An action plan will then be prepared, determined by their goals and their starting point, and will contain a mix of supported activities, coaching and discussions, with next step action plans created after each discussion to enable progress towards their overall financial goals.
Activities will include:
- A full benefit check to identify additional benefit eligibility * this will be included in all initial appointments, but might lead to ongoing support with completing benefit applications and claim maintenance. For economically inactive participants support will be given with making and maintaining a claim, with a particular focus on Universal Credit.
- Coaching and advice on understanding the implications of employment on existing claims, and in work benefit entitlements, including looking at ‘what if’ calculations should they gain employment, how to apply for in-work benefits if they're on a low income, together with eligibility and support to make applications.
- Review of debts, and supporting with resolving debt issues. For more complex cases this may involve a referral to a debt caseworker within Citizens Advice Gateshead.
- Coaching in creating and balancing a budget, using a bespoke budget sheet and tools to identify the considerations when preparing a budget, the difference between priority and non-priority spending, and how to track spending moving forwards including the use of spend trackers, making the most of their money, and making good decisions on spending, ensuring they have the skills and tools to continue to manage a budget effectively if they gain employment and a higher income.
- Identifying options for alternative spending - looking at better deals for ongoing expenditure such as energy contracts, phone/internet/TV subscriptions - and supporting participants to use comparison websites for expenditure and switching contracts, as well as the implications of switching during a fixed term and how to find a cheaper deal.
- Managing household bills for participants who have never lived independently or people new to living independently in the UK. Understanding what bills they can you expect, how to set up payments and the support on offer if they need it.
- Advice and coaching on savings. The FCA encourages advisers who identify someone with a surplus to discuss with them saving for the future. This helps with building financial resilience and developing positive money management behaviour. The current guidance is that up to 10% of a surplus can be set aside for savings but this would be tailored to the participant depending on their financial situation and aspirations. Support provided on opening a savings account, how to identify which one is right for them – with practical support offered to those who need it.
- Insurance advice, including explaining household contents insurance, the benefits of having insurance and how to use price comparison sites to find the right insurance to meet their own personal circumstances.
Time commitment and format
The programme will be delivered over whatever time period is appropriate for the individual, dependent upon needs and capability, however is likely to be on average 6 hours. The length and regularity of sessions will be determined at the initial assessment.
The activities will be delivered face to face or by telephone depending on the preference of the participant and ensuring the safety of staff and participants. Face to face meetings can be held in a range of community venues including Citizens Advice Gateshead’s advice hub in Bridges.
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