Boosting household incomes with Money Matters
GMPA’s Money Matters programme has so far helped Trafford and Manchester families to gain more than £100,000 in household income.
Money Matters has been running since last June in partnership with Citizens Advice SORT (Stockport, Oldham Rochdale and Trafford), with a Financial Inclusion Officer providing debt and benefit advice via local schools. The programme has now grown to supporting families in eight schools, reaching them via newsletters, classroom update apps and events such as parents’ evenings.
Support for families has included help with budgeting, applying for grants to buy essential items such as cookers and beds, and clearing utility debts. Most of the £100,000 income gain has come from ongoing benefits support, which means that the cumulative impact of this work will be even higher.
Money Matters is already confirming that having access to effective support is crucial for families living in poverty or at risk of being affected by poverty. In one example, a family was identified as missing out on nearly £1000 per month of eligible benefits, a “life-changing” amount according to the parent who contacted us.
Not every family who engages with Money Matters is eligible for further support, however this approach of reaching people via school settings has proven the difference that it can make. This is particularly the case when we engage with families who are being forced to make difficult budgeting decisions, and advice services across the UK, including Citizens Advice, are reporting unprecedented demand.
We would like to thank our Financial Inclusion Officer, Elaine Riozzi for her commitment to Money Matters. Elaine was on secondment with GMPA and has now returned to a role within Citizens Advice SORT.
We would therefore like to welcome our new Financial Inclusion Officer, Manjeet McCartney to her role. Manjeet is also joining us from Citizens Advice SORT, with significant experience in providing debt and benefit advice.
There will be further updates on the Money Matters programme in future newsletters. We will also be conducting a formal evaluation of the programme over the summer, before sharing the findings from this via our network and partners.