We sat down with Josh, who heads up our financial education hub in the North West. We talked changing money mindsets, the importance of failing and being in a cell!

 

Who are you?

We’re a charity who believe every young person should have the opportunity to learn about money, so we’re bringing a range of free award winning expert-led programmes for 7-25 year olds across the region.

Young people are the most likely to be in debt and be scammed. We teach them how to budget, bank, save, spend wisely and protect themselves, gain employability skills, boost their confidence and understand the system. All the things we never learnt, but needed the most.

What are you doing here?

We have a financial education Hub at ‘The Lab’ in Liverpool alongside other entrepreneurs and innovators. From here, we can deliver to any school or youth organisation from West Kirby to Glossop and Stoke-on-Trent to Morecombe. The John Ellerman Foundation, St James Place Foundation and KickStart Money are backing us for three years and we’ve already helped 1,000 young people.

I grew up in Speke and been working with young people since I was 16. I started out delivering rap workshops as part of an anti-social behaviour campaign with Merseytravel. Joining me on the frontline is Steve Korris from Formby. We’re reaching out from London for the first time to better understand the needs of local youth and their support services.

Tell us about yourself

Josh

As a young person, I had no financial knowledge, clout or education. I was irresponsible with all forms of money that came my way.

It literally ended with me being in a cell before a Magistrates for non-payment of Council Tax. I got student and payday loans and credit cards without any sort of understanding of how they worked or how much I was paying. If it’s financially irresponsible, I’ve probably done it or hidden from it.

So I learnt the hard way. Just being a part of MyBnk is an eye-opening experience, realising  how little  know-how there is and how some banks and financial organisations take advantage of this.

I share all my mistakes with young people and put both sides. I’ve lived it and want you to learn from it.

Why is this needed? Don’t parents or banks do this?

Put simple, if you are better at managing your money you can take control of your life.

Most parents and teachers often lack the time and expertise to really drill down into these topics. Banks are part of the solution but a volunteer doesn’t always have the skill set to engage and teach this stuff. We do this full time with weeks of training and testing. Young people and teachers rate every session so we’re always on our toes!

What are you delivering?

Two programmes for young adults:

  • Money Works helps those who are not in education, employment, training or leaving care. It deals with survival money management, living independently, banking and borrowing. On average, debts of participants drop by 60%.
  • Enterprise-in-a-Box trains young people to sell ethical products in their community. It gives them soft skills and puts numbers into practice.

We’re also delivering a small number of our flagship Money Twist schools programmes for primary and secondary schools. We focus on mind-sets, attitudes and behaviours like delayed spending gratification. On average 70% of participants start saving after these sessions.

What have you seen on the frontline?

We’ve been beavering away for nine months now and I find many of the young people we work with in the region have a lack of confidence, self-worth and resilience – they’re scared to be wrong or fail. Often we meet those who have gotten something wrong or made a misstep right at the beginning and gotten into debt. Many retreat into their shell and refrain from engaging fully going forwards – put the red letters in a draw, shut the curtains. This impacts massively on their mental health and soon on the basic things they need to survive, a roof over your head, food in the fridge.

I believe it’s ok to not know, to be ‘wrong’ and to ‘fail’ – like no one does the same. Asking questions, being curious and understanding the rules of the game, that’s how you grow as a person or develop your skills.

Many see money as something that ‘comes and goes’, not understanding the importance of saving for the unexpected. Conversations about wanting to get driving lessons, cars, holidays or houses and the need to save for these items are somewhat alien. This is where we believe we need to work extra hard to enable young people to develop a more ‘mindful’ approach to their money habits and the way they spend. A large proportion of young people spend money on impulse without really thinking about the wider possibilities open to themselves through the advent of saving money or having a goal to aim for.

What was your last delivery?

We are currently working across the North West in partnership West Lancashire College, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Groundwork who deliver a Prince’s Trust employability programme. We are also working with Centre 63 and Hugh Baird College within their employability programmes.

Me and young people were also on BBC Merseyside, check it out!

What’s next?

Expand and get this vital knowledge to those who need it the most. We have the funding and the set up, so let’s go.

We also want to open a branch of our youth homelessness prevention scheme The Money House. It’s a bespoke real-life flat where young people moving into social housing learn everything they need to know to survive and thrive. Evictions have fallen by 64% in the five local authorities it’s mandated in.

For more information please contact [email protected] or call 020 3581 9920.

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