Press release: Tens of thousands across the UK to receive help managing their money

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Money Advice Service announces first projects to receive funding from the new What Works Fund initiative.

Projects across the UK will receive new funding from the Money Advice Service, helping tens of thousands of people manage their money better.

Today, the Money Advice Service announced funding for 26 projects, with more to follow in the coming months. The projects, which cover every region of the UK, are being funded from the Money Advice Service’s new £7m What Works Fund. Funded projects will reach thousands of people – from younger people in school, to students and from working age adults to those in retirement.

We know that levels of financial capability remain stubbornly low - four out of ten adults are not in control of their finances and around 16.8 million working age people have less than £100 in savings.

However, very little evidence currently exists on the best way to address this issue. That is why the What Works Fund aims to build evidence and to establish the interventions which best help people to manage their money. Ultimately, the aim is to scale up the most effective projects in order to improve the levels of financial capability of millions of people across the UK.

David Haigh, Director of Financial Capability at the Money Advice Service comments: “This is the first time that we have funded projects to gain evidence about how best to help people with their money. These projects will reach tens of thousands of people, while helping organisations ensure their interventions are truly effective. By increasing the effectiveness of what we do, we can better target our collective efforts, thereby improving the financial capability of millions across the country.”

“Evidence will be gained from a range of approaches, from large-scale digital projects that engage with people online, through to one-on-one interventions which guide people through a step-by-step process to help them keep on top of their finances. The projects will help individuals to budget, saving regularly, handle their finances online, manage their credit and build their numeracy skills.”

The projects also target segments of society who could be vulnerable to falling into financial difficulty, including those with mental health issues, those at risk of being homeless and people with long term illnesses.

“We know that millions of people across the country are one unexpected bill away from seeing their finances spiral out of control – and for those who are already vulnerable, that risk is exacerbated. We want to build evidence on how we can get these people to engage with their financial situation and avoid them ending up in problem debt or with other financial difficulties,” explained Haigh.

Caroline Rookes, Chief Executive for the Money Advice Service said: “There is an urgent need to help people gain the skills and confidence they need to make good decisions about their money day to day. The insights from these projects will be vital, helping organisations to channel their efforts in the right places and to fund and deliver interventions that we know make a real difference. This will also underpin the money guidance commissioning work to be carried out by the new money guidance body which will replace the Money Advice Service.”

“We look forward to collaborating not only with projects funded through the What Works Fund, but with all organisations that are working to improve levels of financial capability. A collective approach is needed to really tackle the issues that underpin low financial capability in the UK.”


For more information, please contact:
Money Advice Service Press Office
020 7943 0593 /


More information can be found at

*What Works funded organisations

Comments from fund recipients

Dawn Taylor, Operations Director, 1625 Independent People:
“1625 Independent People’s Cash Pointers Up Front project is all about offering young people the right skills and tools, shared in a way they can relate to, to help them manage their money better before they get into financial difficulty. It builds on our previous learning and experience delivering peer education and helping young people manage their money. The new project will offer a great opportunity to evaluate what works for young people. We’re delighted to work in partnership with MAS to deliver and evaluate this project.”

Nicola Russell-Brooks, CEO of Age Cymru Swansea Bay, added:
“We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to deliver a Money Advice Service project aimed at helping people over the age of 65 in Swansea. We are looking forward to finding out what barriers people face when they want to take action to develop their financial capability, and to directly supporting people to create a lasting power of attorney; to limit their risk of being scammed; and, to help them learn how to safely use online financial services. If anyone would like to benefit from this project, please get in touch. You can contact us on 01792 64 88 66 or by email at

Juliette Collier, National Director, Campaign for Learning:
“Families provide the most important opportunity for most children to see, talk and learn about money; what parents do really matters in helping children make positive financial choices as they grow up. We are excited to be working with the Money Advisory Service and the What Works Fund to deliver the Family Fortunes project, because it will enable us to really understand what works in helping parents build brighter financial futures for themselves and their children.”

Paul Hackwood, Executive Director of Church Urban Fund, said
“We are delighted to be trialing our new Cash Smart Credit Savvy course with support from Money Advice Service. Our innovative short course format is designed to help more people to access financial education, through community delivery partners who they already know and trust. People will have the skills to make good choices about credit and understand the importance of savings.”

Arvinda Gohil, Chief Executive of Community Links said:
“Helping individuals to improve their overall circumstances, as well as breaking cycles of debt, is what Community Links responds to daily.”

“We are delighted to be able to work with the Money Advice Service in advancing the knowledge and understanding of what works well in improving people’s financial capability.

“This funding will allow us to further integrate our early action model of preventing problems from arising by embedding financial capability support into our existing services for young people and unemployed BAME women.

“We hope that results from this work will help to re-design more targeted and efficient money management interventions across the UK.”

Gemma Finnegan, Project Manager, for Cornwall Rural Community Charity Comments:
“Cornwall Rural Community Charity is excited to have been successful with securing funding for our Get £F+IT project. Cornwall has a higher than average population over the age of 65 and many live in a rural community. With many financial services migrating to digital channels many retired people are losing out on the advantages of advice and money management tools – our project will support retired people to increase their digital skills and their financial capability skills with our locally delivered training.”

John Hinton, Executive Director of Move On said:
"We look forward to an exciting partnership with the Money Advice Service working alongside vulnerable people, in order to improve their money management skills, opening up new opportunities and improving their life outcomes."

Guy Rigden, MyBnk CEO:
“MyBnk is thrilled to be working with the Money Advice Service and the What Works Fund. Few disagree on the need for better financial capability but what, when, how and who are more contentious.

“This fund will evidence interventions that work for young people. MAS’ support will deepen and widen the testing of our vital financial education programmes, delivered by trained experts in schools and with vulnerable young people, such as those leaving care. We hope and expect this evidence will spur government, industry and civil society to support scaling impactful interventions on the frontline.”

Damon Gibbons, Director at The Centre for Responsible Credit comments:
“The Centre for Responsible Credit is delighted that the Money Advice Service has elected to fund a trial of ‘supported rent flexibility’ for social housing tenants in London and the South East. Prior research indicates that low income families face reasonably predictable pressures on their budgets at various points in the year, such as at Christmas and during the school holidays. These pressures often lead to rent arrears or to people taking out expensive forms of credit.

“Supported rent flexibility’ seeks to offer families an alternative. We will be working with tenants of Amicus Horizon who have a recent history of rent payment problems in order to identify their financial pres
sure points, and offering individualised schedules of rent payments (allowing over and under-payments in various months to be agreed with the tenant) to help smooth these out.

“In line with principles of the What Works Fund, we will be undertaking a robust evaluation of the impacts of the trial on rent arrears and levels of financial well-being for tenants. An interim report will be available in June this year, and a final report in February 2018.”

Paul Milner, Development Manager at National Numeracy, said:
“We’re excited to be working with The Money Advice Service to identify which interventions make a real difference to people’s money skills.

“Numeracy is at the heart of this. Low numeracy is a barrier to managing day to day finances and is linked to low confidence when it comes to making decisions, including financial ones. Improved numeracy is associated with planning ahead, setting financial goals and choosing best-buy financial products.

“Our work with the What Works Fund will help make a difference to people’s attitudes and motivations in making financial decisions.”

Peter Pledger, Chief Executive of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, said:
“We are delighted to have secured funding from the What Works fund to deliver a project evaluating our free Get Ready online pensions education tool. Financial planning for retirement is an important topic, although pensions are often viewed as complicated and confusing and the subject can get ignored. This evaluation project will help to measure the Get Ready tool’s true impact in empowering people to take control of their long-term finances, while also aiding the future development of the tool and other similar financial capability initiatives.”

Jamie Morgan, community Services Manager from the Royal Society for Blind Children comments:
“The Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) often meet vision impaired young people who do not feel confident about managing their own money. This could be because their family take on that task due to the
visual nature of finances and financial transactions. We are delighted that the Money Advice Service is supporting RSBC to help the young people we work with learn these skills and put them into practice. It will go a long way to helping them live an independent life.”

Alison Watson, Deputy Director of Shelter Scotland, said:
“People are much more likely to visit their doctor when they’re ill than they are to seek help when struggling financially. But the stress and pressure felt by people facing financial difficulties – especially if their home is under threat - is known to cause ill health.

“By basing this new advice service in health centres and having medical professionals refer people directly to it, we hope to reach more of those people who are less likely to ask for help and offer them the money and debt advice they may not otherwise get.

“Through this service, we expect to help some of the most vulnerable and hardest to reach people in some of the most deprived areas in our society. We hope that following the first two pilot projects in Glasgow and Dundee we can expand the service to other areas across Scotland.

“We very much welcome this funding from the Money Advice Service via the What Works fund.”

Stephanie Hayter, Young People’s programme manager for The Money Charity comments:
“It’s costly for young people to learn financial skills on the job. That’s why we’ve been on the ground in schools from Belfast to Kent delivering financial education to 150,000 students since 2010.
The Money Charity delivers financial education directly in schools using our network of trained consultants around the UK.
Getting good financial education into schools faces many challenges. One of the biggest is proving to people that it’s effective and how best to do it. So we’re grateful to the Money Advice Service for helping us show what works.”

Jocelle Lovell Financial Inclusion Manager at The Wales Co-operative Centre said:
“We are delighted to have been selected by the Money Advice Service to deliver our project as part of the What Works funding. It will enable us to expand our work and learn more about the financial capability of tenants in the private rented sector, whilst gathering robust evidence of the most effective support interventions.”

Adam Micklethwaite, Director of Business and Innovation for Good Things Foundation comments:
"We're delighted to be taking part in the MAS What Works programme, carrying out a landmark study testing how assisted digital transactions can build financial capability and confidence. Our findings could have a significant impact on supporting some of the most excluded people in the UK to overcome the complex barriers to financial inclusion they face, helping them to move out of poverty and realise a range of wider benefits."

Claire Griffiths, Head of Communities for West Kent Housing Association comments:
“West Kent Housing Association (West Kent) is delighted to have been chosen as a partner for the Money Advice Service’s What Works programme. Our project supports young people aged 16 – 24 living in Sevenoaks, Maidstone or the Medway towns, who have left school and are transitioning into independent living, to help them prepare for making better financial decisions over the next 12 months. We anticipate the project will increase young people’s ability to balance current and future financial needs and hope that the learning from the project will inform future support provided by West Kent as part of our wider training and employment activities.”

About the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK
The Financial Capability Strategy was established as a ten-year strategy to address the stubbornly low levels of financial capability across the UK. The Strategy aims to bring together individuals and organisations to deliver a collaborative approach to improving levels of financial capability, as well as establishing the interventions that are proven to work and seeing that as many people as possible benefit from them. The strategy can be found at

About the What Works Fund
During the first half of the year we launched a £7 million fund to gain a better understanding of which projects and interventions work best to help people make the most of their money. We received over 400 expressions of interest for funding. Projects will be funded until March 2018.

About the Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. It gives free, unbiased money guidance online at or via free phone on 0800 138 7777. Debt advice is also provided through a variety of partners across the UK. The Service was set up by Government and is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority. Its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system); and to enhance the ability of members of the public to manage their own financial affairs.