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Delivering community financial advice workshops in Leicester - What Works Fund

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

Leicester Ageing Together (LAT) is a Big Lottery Funded project aiming to reduce loneliness and isolation among people aged over 50. LAT identified poverty as a key cause of loneliness and isolation in Leicester, and thought that the project offered an opportunity to explore how to improve older people’s financial capability

The project aimed to identify if grounding people’s financial decision-making within their wider life context (including family and social connections) leads to greater and longer lasting changes in comparison to more traditional information-based financial capability support. Vista led the project, in partnership with the Community Advice and Law Service, and the Workers’ Educational Association. The partners designed the programme to have two strands of workshops, delivered within a week or two of each other, in local community venues across Leicester:

  • The ‘financial capability’ strand – covering ‘traditional’ financial capability skills and knowledge;
  • The ‘holistic’ strand – covering the same skills and knowledge as in the ‘financial capability’ strand, but within the context of what people wanted to achieve for their retirement as a whole.

However, due to delays in project set-up and difficulties recruiting staff, the project found it hard to recruit participants and ended early. The project recruited a total of 163 participants (against a target of 300), aged from 60 to over 90 years old. Three quarters of participants were women, and half came from an ethnic minority background.

The study

Ideas to Impact conducted the evaluation, and used pre- and post-surveys, workshop observation, staff and participant focus groups, and interviews with delivery partners and community partners. The original methodology included three month follow-up telephone interviews with participants to understand their experiences and track changes against outcomes, but these did not happen due to the project finishing early.

Key findings

  • Participants were least confident about planning for the future, for example, sorting out their care needs, wills, funerals or inheritances. Reasons for the lack of planning included: not having any spare money, not thinking about it, thinking that the state would provide for them, or not knowing where to get further information to help them.
  • Asian or British-Asian people were more likely than white British people to say that their money situation limited their ability to do things, and women were less confident than men that their retirement income will give them the standard of living they hoped for in retirement. These differences were statistically significant.
  • There were various actions that participants identified that they would do as a result of the workshops. The most common actions were: reducing bills through changing or challenging providers, improving budgeting and goal setting and making financial plans for the future.
  • Participants were very positive about the quality of the workshops in the end-of-course survey.
  • Qualitative research highlighted the importance of other factors in making financial changes. These factors included relationships within families, and making decisions that seemed logical according to a different rationale, but not from a financial perspective, for example looking after health and wellbeing.

Points to consider

Methodological limitations

  • As the project finished early, Ideas for Impact could not conduct the three-month follow-up telephone interviews, so there is limited evidence on the impact of the project on people’s financial capability.
  • The evaluators experienced challenges capturing data due to language difficulties and sensory disabilities.


  • The evaluation had to work with smaller sample sizes than anticipated, which reduced the evaluator’s ability to draw statistically significant conclusions and meaning the results are not generalizable to the wider population.

Full report

Delivering community financial advice workshops in Leicester full report

Key info

Activities and setting
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