In January we launched GMPA’s second Money Advice Referral Tool, in Oldham and we are now working on rolling it out to four more boroughs in Greater Manchester.
GMPA believes that responses to poverty should focus on getting more money into people’s pockets and supporting people to avoid high interest debt. That’s why one of our strategic priorities is to support local efforts to boost household income and financial resilience. A ‘cash-first’ approach to local welfare, and an ‘advice first’ approach to other support services is key to this.
GMPA’s Money Advice Referral Tools support and foster cash and advice-first approaches by connecting people to advice and other income maximisation support. The aim is to help people to get all the money that they are entitled to, and to reduce the need for referrals to food banks, by increasing referrals to other kinds of support.
The programme grew out of GMPA’s work on food insecurity, and we agreed with partners in Tameside and Oldham to pilot the tool in their boroughs. Both tools have now been co-produced and launched with partners in each borough. At the launch of the tool in Oldham in January 2022, Councillor Zahid Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “I’m glad to see this support tool available to people at a time when many are needing it the most. The rising costs of living is hitting many people in Oldham hard and is a real crisis. This ‘cash-first’ approach will help get money into the hands of those who are truly struggling. If you’re finding things tough right now just know that you’re not alone and help is available. I encourage you to use this tool to make sure you’re accessing all the support you are entitled to.”
We have contracted an independent evaluation team to assess the impact of this pilot, and we look forward to hearing more about its use and the benefits to people experiencing poverty.
Rollout in up to four other boroughs
We have received funding from the Trussell Trust to roll out the tool in more boroughs in Greater Manchester, and have received expressions of interest from those who would like to work with us through this programme. We will make an announcement about the additional boroughs in April 2022. We are recruiting a Programme Officer to support the delivery of this work. It is vital that people are supported to maximise their incomes and to find routes out of poverty, and we expect most of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs to have such a referral tool, or at least to have one in development, by the end of 2022.
You can find out more about the programme, and register to use the Oldham or Tameside tools, here.