By Michaela Le Bail, Project Manager and Financial Advocate
In 2018 Dosh Financial Advocacy received a grant from NatWest to deliver Money Awareness Training throughout the United Kingdom with a focus on the East of England. The training was specifically for people with a learning disability aged between 18 and 30 and we also offered training to their main carers who could have separate training if they wanted or could attend the same training as the people they support. Thanks to the grant, we were able to offer this on a fee free basis throughout 2019.
The training was delivered by two trainers from Dosh to groups from one to 40 people, over 4 two-hour workshops and usually held somewhere familiar to the participants, such as their school or a local community centre. The training aimed to build people’s independent living and finance skills and knowledge, as well as supporting people to become more confident around money. We wanted to make sure that there was a greater understanding of where money came from and how to keep it safe.
We used lots of different learning methods including lots of games with picture cards, creative activities, scenarios and sharing actual experiences, using questions, and giving key information in slides and learning booklets. We looked at generic bank statements to understand how to read them and then designed our own accessible ones! We also played games such as our Money Plan Game – this is a fantastic game with a really easy to read format which includes picture symbols (widgits) and it shows how to budget in an easy to understand way. This game is now available through our website at http://mymoneyplan.dosh.org/ and is free to use; it is a great way to learn budgeting. We also have some free carers factsheets available which many of the carers found useful.
Many of the participants would have been easily scammed or financially abused before the training as they had not been shown what kind of things were not ok, whether it was from someone they already knew or a stranger. I feel that the knowledge they gained in this area will help many of them in the future not be in that position.
There was a huge variation in how much understanding the participants already came with and so we tailored each workshop to the ability of the group to make sure that everyone had the best chance to finish with as much new knowledge possible. Although it was quite detailed in some parts, we received lots of praise on how much had been learned by everyone who attended and most people looked forward to their sessions. We were lucky to be joined by The Quality Company who conducted a peer evaluation of the workshops.
They found that 87% of people said the course had taught them more about money and 73% felt they could make better choices with their money.
On the final workshop we gave certificates out to those who had attended all of the sessions – I have to say this was, by far, my favourite bit. Calling out people’s names and watching them walk up to the front to collect their certificates hugely proud of themselves for attending and learning.
It was like being at the Oscars!
We even had some people looking and waving back to the others and plenty of smiles, claps and hollers followed all around.
All in all we delivered the training to over 200 participants and their main carers, it was very worthwhile and we look forward to delivering more workshops in the future. Dosh provides training workshops for colleges, self-advocacy groups, carers groups, support providers and Local Authorities, from one-hour of money games, to a full day’s session on how to support people well with money, all tailored to the group’s particular needs. If you would like to know more about our training, please have a read and get in touch with us to discuss what you’re looking for.
We would like to extend our thanks to NatWest’s Skills and Opportunities Fund for providing the funding to deliver this project and all the groups that supported and attended our workshop sessions.
Meike Beckford February 28th, 2020