Preventing homelessness in Reading

New project offers life-changing financial management skills

08 May 2019

Launchpad has launched Financial Skills for Independence – a new programme to arm clients with life-changing financial management skills, thanks to grants from Nationwide and NatWest.

Financial Skills for Independence is for clients who are due to leave the service after a period of support and would benefit from learning how to avoid financial difficulties, sustain a tenancy and remain independent. The programme, which we began rolling out in March, consists of four hours of workshops a week, held over eight weeks, and covers topics such as debt management, budgeting and claiming benefits.

Aimee Rahman, Launchpad’s Housing Team Leader, is heading up the Financial Skills for Independence programme and explains why the project is so important: “The majority of our clients come to Launchpad because they have nowhere else to turn to for support. We work with them to address the issues that are having an impact on their housing situation and get them back on track. But once our clients leave Launchpad, we’re finding they can have difficulties understanding and managing finances, which leaves them at risk.

“For example, most of our clients don’t know how to set up council tax, prioritise their debts or which benefits they’re entitled to. Our new project will teach them to do all of this and also help them to access education and employment, manage work and study at the same time, and understand their rights as a tenant. Launchpad is a community, and this project allows our former clients to come back for additional support in an environment they are familiar with, so they don’t feel like they are on their own.”

The project has been funded by grants from Nationwide Community Grants and NatWest’s Skills & Opportunities Fund, following a competition which asked the public to vote on a project they believed to be the most beneficial for the community.

The first workshops, which took place throughout March and April, focused on helping clients to understand Universal Credit, make changes to their Universal Credit journals and manage their claims. The programme is available to all Launchpad clients from our supported housing and floating support services, and will be made available to drop-in clients in the near future.