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Here, co-founder Jerry During explains how the Inclusive Economy Partnership helped spark a new consortium to tackle financial exclusion in the UK, as well as several other key partnerships and collaborations.

The Money A+E team - Inclusive Economy Partnership

The Money A+E team

Can you tell us a bit about your Inclusive Economy Partnership project. What are you doing and what do you want to change?

We empower individuals by providing simple, accessible, independent, and effective money advice and education services for young people, black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and socially excluded groups in the community.

We aim to build financial inclusion, confidence, wellbeing, and positive financial behaviours and habits within the communities we serve. In the long term we aim to transform the cultures of denial, increase openness, reduce stress and mental health issues related to money, and stop generational cycles of poverty and deprivation.

We hope to reduce levels of poverty for the next generation; increase access to expert professional support at times of debt crisis and financial challenge; and transform the professional development within the sector to incorporate skills and roles that offer holistic support for the community.

Who are you looking to reach specifically, and why?

Young people – this essential life skill is not taught adequately within the national curriculum. With high and growing levels of child poverty in our country, there is a crucial need for young people to learn these skills to reduce and prevent cycles of deprivation. Specialists are needed to work with schools providing this support.

Low income individuals and families - there were over eight million people in debt in 2017, according to research by the Money Advice Service, and this figure continues to grow each year. There are not enough places that meet this demand for financial education. We need to increase the number of places offering support to deal with long waiting lists; lack of weekend and evening provision for low income working people; and better provision of digital and online solutions for those select number who can access services in this way.

Socially excluded vulnerable individuals and groups – there are a number of barriers to access for these groups – the biggest one is a lack of trust in established providers such as Citizens Advice, law centres, housing associations and local authorities. Less than one in four people are accessing much-needed debt advice; the impact of this leads to a myriad of other social issues, causing an increased cost to the public purse and persistent debt issues and poverty. We need to provide more trusted sources of support for people from within the community and non-established agencies often viewed as part of the system.

Less than one in four people are accessing much-needed debt advice; the impact of this leads to a myriad of other social issues, causing an increased cost to the public purse and persistent debt issues and poverty.

Jerry During, co-founder and Services Director, Money A+E

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to financial inclusion in our society today?

The low number of places where people can get access to high-quality financial capability education and debt advice.

Tell us a bit about one of the partnerships you formed during the IEP. Who are you working with and what does each party bring to the table?

We formed a partnership called the Inclusive Community Partnership (ICP), made up of a number of organisations and seven lead agencies. The lead agencies all bring different elements to the table:

  • Money A+E – debt advice and personal finance guidance; Ofqual accredited Money Mentor training courses; user engagement, and campaigns on social money issues.
  • Fair Finance – debt advice and financial inclusion workshops, and business loans for excluded migrant individuals.
  • The Money Charity – financial education workshops in schools and communities, and consultancy for other institutions.
  • Shelter – experts in housing advice, campaigning on issues of quality of housing and homelessness.
  • Advising Communities – delivers social welfare law advice on issues such as welfare benefits, employment and housing.
  • Migrant Resource Centre – immigration advice and integration services for migrants and refugees.
  • Crosslight Advice – money advice and financial education training and workshops.
  • Social Action for Health – provides management and administrative support for advice consortium leading teams.

We have also formed a partnership with We Are Digital, another social innovator on the accelerator programme, and will be working with them in relation to a contract with London and Quadrant, a registered social housing provider.

What impact has the IEP made on your work and goals?

The IEP inspired our involvement and development of the ICP mentioned above, and other forms of consortia, and has introduced us to numerous civil society, public sector and private sector leaders and innovators.

Taking part in the programme has enhanced the credibility and visibility of our work in communities with potential customers, funders and partners, and our service users of young people, black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and socially excluded groups. The IEP also helped us to pilot digital innovation that will support us to reach more people in need.

Taking part in the programme has enhanced the credibility and visibility of our work in communities with potential customers, funders and partners, and our service users.

Jerry During, co-founder and Services Director, Money A+E

What have you learned about how to build a successful partnership?

A successful partnership should have:

  • Shared objectives, values and goals.
  • A clear agreement understanding and terms of reference in relation to the specific purposes of the partnerships.
  • Space for individuals and all partners to develop within the partnership.
  • Transparency and trust – all partners should feel listened to and in some way have a part in the decision-making process, with properly and fairly agreed rewards for contributions to the partnership.

Where do you plan to take Money A+E from here?

Our ambition is to be a national organisation, combating poverty and crisis debt through accredited education programmes and quality regulated money advice services for young people in schools and colleges, communities, and for vulnerable individuals throughout the UK. Our aim is to help change the culture, by working with public, voluntary and private sector partners to address pressing social issues in the area of financial exclusion.

Find out more about Money A+E.

The Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP) is a pioneering initiative changing the way that government, business and civil society work together to address some of society's toughest challenges. Between August 2017 and September 2018, Nesta worked with the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to run the Inclusive Economy Partnership Accelerator, supporting 18 IEP grant winners across three challenge areas (financial inclusion, mental health in the workplace, and the transition to work for young people) to scale their solutions through meaningful partnership with business, civil society and government.