Why are we doing this?
In the UK, millions of people now live in debt. We each owe an average of £3,730 (excluding mortgages) and more than 16 million have less than £100 in savings - far too little to cope with the potential 'shocks' of unexpected expenditure or job loss.
Many people, when faced with sudden bills, turn to loans and credit card debt which could financially stretch them too far. This is reported to especially be the case for those who are 'just about managing'.
Giving people the skills to better plan and manage their finances can help them avoid debt and balance their budgets. This is an area in which social action is well placed to assist; with skilled volunteers able to help local people with the support, knowledge and tools they need to save for the future and become debt free.
Given the above, the Savers Support Fund is looking to support organisations that are currently making an impact, but that require support to scale up. This fund will back projects that can grow - for example, to new geographies, or through new partnerships etc - and reach many more people, and mobilise many more (at least 250) volunteers.
Social action schemes giving guidance (such as through the Citizens Advice Bureau) are well established, but there are also promising schemes that provide more intensive support as well as those that make use of collaborative economy models enabling people’s resources to go further through sharing.
Nesta and the Office for Civil Society have a strong legacy in supporting social action to augment public services, and this programme is part of that work. We are looking to back projects with the clearest evidence of impact and opportunity to reach many more people and to help them become debt free.
What are we doing?
The Savers Support Fund is a £1million fund to scale proven social action models that will assist individuals and families to better manage money and reduce debt. All projects must work with a majority of families who are just about managing, and/or young people aged 14-25.
We are looking to fund four to six organisations with grants of between £150,000 and £250,000 to scale (through growth, franchising or replication) proven approaches to help people better manage money. We will provide financial and non-financial support to help grow the impact and reach of the best innovations.
Innovations must be able to demonstrate that they need support to scale their work, using social action, to new areas in England.
Specifically, where this fund is concerned, social action will include both formal and informal forms of giving and volunteering, as well as forms of digital giving.
We are especially interested in supporting:
1. Mentoring and peer to peer models to upskill beneficiaries in budgeting and financial management skills.
2. Digital social action that provides guidance and support to manage and keep to a budget where and when people need it.
3. Sharing economy approaches that help people manage personal budgets and access essential goods and services cheaply.
How to apply
We invite eligible projects based in England to submit a short expression of interest (EOI), outlining key information, by midday Wednesday 29 March.
We are looking to support innovative ventures and programmes that:
- Have good existing evidence of impact in helping people balance their budgets and reduce debt.
- Are clear about their beneficiary groups - either young people aged 14-25 and /or families who are 'just about managing'.
- Have ambitious scaling targets for the number of hours given by volunteers. Scaling can be achieved through organic growth, replication, partnership or licensing.
- Demonstrate capacity to deliver in the timeline of the fund (July 2017 to Dec 2018).
- Include match funding (including in-kind) of at least 33 percent.
- Have already made connections or a pipeline of leads in the new areas in which they wish to scale (for example with new local authorities, schools or community groups).
- Have a clear plan for scale and sustainability beyond the lifetime of the fund.
Applicants are likely to be:
- Existing organisations operating their proven model in England who want to scale up to expand the approach to new areas or population groups, or;
- Organisations in England who want to import a proven model from overseas and replicate it in England, supporting many more families or young people aged 15-24 to balance their budgets.
Following an assessment of EOIs, we will invite the best to submit a full application. Nesta will work with applicants to co-develop these, before submission for final assessment.
Full details of our type of innovations we can support and what we are looking for can be found on our Savers Support Fund Eligibility page and in our FAQs. We advise all innovations to review this information before submitting their EOI. If you have any questions about the Savers Support Fund, please email [email protected]