New partnerships to integrate digital tools into Clean Slate drive to improve financial wellbeing
A digital inclusion charity and Clean Slate have launched a programme combining digital tools with financial guidance for people on low incomes across England. The scheme, backed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Mastercard, aims to help 450 people in the next six months. Working with the Good Things Foundation, Clean Slate will team up with Online Centres to increase participants’ IT skills and confidence while also helping them become better off. It joins a range of initiatives designed to support people through the impact of Coronavirus and the lockdown.
Clean Slate Director, Jeff Mitchell, said: “During lockdown, many people had to rethink any reservations they may have had towards digital. There was no popping out to withdraw cash to pay bills or check the bank balance. And no more taking the kids to visit grandparents. Nor were the cafes and libraries open, where Clean Slate usually meets people to work through their finances or find work. It’s a new normal for all of us. We had to ask what could be done remotely and online… and then how we’d help people get online and find their way around. Life gave us a right bunch of lemons but the work with Good Things means we can make lots of lemonade!”
People local to Clean Slate’s ‘Quids In Centres’ in Bath and NE Somerset, Gloucestershire, East and South London can book a money health-check. People will also be able to do the same if they are close to one of five Online Centres: In the Midlands, Smartlyte (Birmingham), in the North East Meadow Well Connected (North Shields), The Chinese Centre (Newcastle) or Hartlepower CIC (Hartlepool), or in the North West Kensington Community Learning Learning Centre (Liverpool).
People with a device other than their phone will be guided through a simple online Quiz over the phone. If they only have a smartphone to access the internet, the support worker fills it in on their behalf. It identifies ways they might stretch and grow their budget and generates and emails a plan to work through with support, if they want it. Each step it recommends comes with a weblink to further help available online, which support workers will also guide people through.
“Having now merged with Quids in!, Clean Slate can use that national reach to work with partners around the UK,” added Jeff Mitchell. “It’s exciting to extend to partnerships with friends in the North, and in Scotland (during the trial phase), and our project lead is in North Wales. This is a taste of the future for us. Of course, the Quids in! website also gives us virtually unlimited reach. We just need to get word out about the help it can offer and we have some exciting news to follow on this.”
Publishers of the Quids in! Guide to Universal Credit release special issue to support new claimants triggered by coronavirus lockdown
Quids in!, the money skills initiative, publishes an emergency, digital edition of the Guide to Universal Credit on 15th April 2020 for new claimants affected by coronavirus. The publication is available to landlords, authorities and support agencies to distribute in bulk, as well as for individuals via the Quids in! online store
A million low-paid earners and self-employed people were forced to claim welfare in just two weeks in March. Quids in!, which has already published 10 editions of its Universal Credit Guide, has redesigned the publication to reflect the particular challenges faced by people who are usually in employment. Content has been adapted for people who might never have expected to be forced onto welfare, drawing on its experience catering for people more used to living on the breadline. A lot of what the first UC claimants learned the hard way is included.
Quids in! editor, Jeff Mitchell said: “The government tells us coronavirus is a ‘great leveller’. Well, it has certainly levelled over a million people forced onto benefits as their work dried up when the country locked down. That throw away statistic that many of us are just one pay cheque away from disaster suddenly rings true.”
The publication is the latest response to the financial fall-out caused by coronavirus from Quids in! and its parent organisation Clean Slate Training & Employment CIC. In March, it launched a ‘Corona-Finance’ service with a Frequently Asked Questions section on its website offering clarity and reassurance about support available to people struck down financially. A web link is available for readers to submit questions they have about their own situation. The money email service, run by the Quids In Readers Club, has been upgraded to keep subscribers up-to-date on the latest help on offer during this crisis.
Jeff Mitchell added: “This won’t be over when the lockdown ends. We may all find we need to continue to tighten our belts. There is no silver bullet for dodging debt but there are some golden rules. Quids in! is all about ways to help us all spend less, save more, borrow less and bring in more money.”
Over 300,000 copies of the Quids in! Guide to Universal Credit have already been sold as a 32-page magazine. It focuses on the ‘3 Bs’, drawing on pitfalls experienced by early claimants with the new system, such as not having an appropriate bank account, not being online or not being able to budget for a large, single payment made in arrears. The Corona-Finance edition of the Guide focuses around living on less and accessing help that people who are new to the welfare system may be unaware of.
The new version is available in PDF to send to tenants, residents and service users affected financially by the coronavirus lockdown. An online publishing platform version has been prepared for publication on customers’ websites.
For further information, contact Lisa Woodman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 08456 460 469.
To see the Corona-Finance edition of the Universal Credit Guide, click here.
Clean Slate together with Quids in!, have produced Corona-Finance, a web-based information facility, written specifically for low income households, across the UK. It includes:
While we believe a financial crisis will emerge for low income households now, we must also be alert to the risk of high unemployment and a possible recession that could compound extreme hardship in our communities. ‘Financial resilience’ must remain a key goal in how we support people into the future.
Clean Slate's Service During Lockdown
Clean Slate has now instituted a remote working protocol. It will enable us to continue to help people on low incomes to become better off without us relying on access to public spaces like libraries and community cafes.
Our teams in Bath & North East Somerset, Gloucestershire and East London, (now operating as local Quids In Centres), will offer phone and web contact. They will continue to work with the people we have seen already. The teams will also be on hand for self-referrals and referrals from support agencies working with people facing hardship and needing guidance. People local to a Quids In Centre will be able to:
We are calling on our stakeholders in the financial wellbeing of our poorest communities to:
For further information about the one-off e-news digest email to promote the online service or our ‘Corona-Finance’ money email service, please register your interest below.