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.”