Higher than ever numbers of London households are living in debt, with the myriad issues of poor financial knowledge compounded by additional direct financial costs (the Poverty Premium) and changes in access to benefits, resulting in cycles of poverty and indebtedness that lead to despair for far too many families.
This growing challenge inspired London-based charity Toynbee Hall to convene a unique and powerful consortium with partners Columbia Threadneedle Foundation and J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, to scale an innovative financial education programme – Money Mentors – across London.
Money Mentors seeks to build practical knowledge, improve money management skills, enhance savings habits and build financial confidence that is then shared through peer-on-peer mentoring and through support groups within financially vulnerable communities.
This enduring collaboration has enabled over 90 Money Mentors to be trained through 2016 and to date they have shared their newfound knowledge with over 1,500 people.
Through volunteer augmented training, the results of an initial independent study are very encouraging. Money Mentors participants reporting ‘always or sometimes struggling with financial matters’ fell from over 60% before training to 6%, while those who described their financial knowledge as ‘quite good’ has risen from 40% to 70%.