Money Skills for Life, an innovative pilot project developed in Cornwall, is being launched in the Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth area.
The scheme is aimed at giving people specialist, one-to-one financial coaching to look at their relationships with money, their life choices and help them avoid going into debt, improving the outlook for themselves and their families.
The project, run by Citizens Advice Cornwall, will involve eight specially trained life coaches providing £300 worth of free coaching sessions to people in the local community who are not heavily in debt but are willing to make changes to their spending habits. The coaches are volunteers from the local community who gained their Level 3 Life Coaching Skills qualifications at Truro and Penwith College.
The idea for the Money Skills for Life project came from members of the local community at the Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth Community Network Panel and is funded by the National Lottery, Cornwall Council and Coastline Housing.
If successful, the Money Skills for Life pilot programme could be extended to other parts of Cornwall.
Neil Colquhoun, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Cornwall, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this important initiative which will improve the prospects for local community.
Debt is a big issue, both nationally and here in Cornwall, leading to higher levels of poverty and stress for the individuals concerned and their dependents. Last year, almost 7,000 people came to see Citizens Advice because of their debt problems.
What we’re aiming to do is tackle the root causes of debt before it becomes unmanageable.”
Nicki Highton, Coastline Housing Community Investment Officer, said: “More and more of our customers are turning to us asking for budgeting help and support.
This innovative project allows customers to access fantastic one to one coaching which will enable them to identify key things in their life which they could change in order to help them budget more confidently and safeguard themselves from going into debt in the future.
It’s a different way of supporting our customers and as a pilot we are really looking forward to evaluating the results and seeing if this type of support is helpful and valued by our customers.”
Citizens Advice Cornwall dealt with 3,277 debt problems in the Camborne and Redruth parliamentary constituency in 2015-16. The main debt issues were Debt Relief Orders (24%), council tax arrears (11%), credit, store and charge cards (9%), unsecured personal loans (7%) and water bills (6%).
For more information about Citizens Advice Cornwall visit www.citizensadvicecornwall.org.uk.
CLIENT CASE STUDY – HANNAH CHRISTOPHERS
Hannah Christophers, 29, took part in the Money Skills for Life programme on the suggestion of her landlord, Coastline Housing, and is undertaking coaching sessions.
“I have always struggled a bit with money but the course is helping me to get more organised and keep on top of my spending. I am filing all my paperwork so I can keep track of what I need to pay,” she said.
“I was starting to lose track and getting confused with what I had to pay and because I had lived in supported housing, I hadn’t needed to work out my own bills before.
The coaches are really friendly and they don’t judge you, so it’s something I’d certainly recommend to other people.”
COACH CASE STUDY – CAROLINE WADE
Caroline decided to train as a mentor for the Money Skills for Life scheme last year and has completed the Institute of Learning and Management coaching course at Truro College as part of the Money Skills for Life training.
“When we work with clients, we try and find out what their situation is and what they want to achieve, whether it’s paying something off, organising their money or starting to save.
We then look for simple, achievable steps the clients can take towards achieving their aims. We don’t tell people what they must do, everything is done at their pace and they help decide the actions they need to make the changes in their life.”
Story posted: 17 March 2017