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‘Fun to finance’ workshops and Money Mentoring with women

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The Many Sisters project was developed by Southern Housing Group to support the financial capability of Black and ethnic minority women tenants in East London. The project sought to test new preventative approaches to building financial resilience and positive financial behaviour change based on creating trusted relationships, facilitating financial-need conversations and providing a space for disclosure about abuse in personal relationships for signposting to other services.

Launched coincidentally around the time of the first Covid-19 lockdown in Spring 2020, Many Sisters offered a range of practical online workshops, such as cooking, gardening, money management and empowerment in collaboration with several delivery partners. The workshops were focussed on ‘wellbeing with a financial flavour’ and provided tips and techniques to manage and save more, without being overtly educational in nature. The workshops were intended to draw participants into the service to then provide them with 1-2-1 Money Mentoring sessions, in a ‘fun to finance’ recruitment model. The Mentoring sessions were personalised and content-rich financial education sessions and those receiving them were more vulnerable financially than participants as a whole.

The project aimed to reach 350 Black and ethnic minority women in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham (East London).

The study

368 women took part in one or more workshops, of whom 36% had one or more dependent children, 48% were from Black, African, Caribbean or Black British backgrounds, 21% were living with a partner, 60% were in receipt of Universal Credit, 14% had a disability and 11% had a mental health issue. Of the 368 participating women, 264 were Southern Housing Group tenants (East London) and 104 were not. The aim of the study, which was commissioned by Southern Housing Group) was to measure how well Many Sisters increased female tenants’ financial capability; improved positive wellbeing for participants; achieve engagement and convert to engagement in positive financial behaviour change; adds value to what SHG offers.

The mixed-methods study used data from several sources: registrations forms, monitoring information, Financial Status surveys ‘before’ (n=159, a response rate 43%) and ‘after’ (n=61, response rate 38%), approximately 30 participant qualitative research interviews, WhatsApp group figures, Money Mentor/ financial health check records and six qualitative research interviews with Many Sisters project staff. The study was undertaken in 2020 and 2021 and the ‘after’ surveys were conducted at three-monthly intervals.

Key findings

Recruitment, delivery and design:

  • Personal explanation, promotion and empathetic engagement by the Many Sisters project team was crucial to successfully recruiting participants. Recruitment conversion rates varied considerably by recruitment route.
  • 21% of workshop participants went onto receive 1-2-1 Money Mentoring sessions.
  • Online delivery did not impact recruitment or reach negatively.

Budgeting: The percentage of all participants who said they kept a written budget decreased by 4% points after taking part in Many Sisters, but for those receiving Mentoring sessions this increased by 16% points.

Financial confidence: The percentage of all participants who felt confident in managing money increased by 4% points after taking part in Many Sisters, and for those receiving Mentoring sessions this increased by 13% points.

Saving behaviour: The percentage of all participants who said they were saving at all increased by 15% points after taking part in Many Sisters, and for those receiving Mentoring sessions by 19% points.

  • For those saving more than £20, the increase was 14% points for all participants and 22% points for Mentoring participants.
  • For those saving in each of the last three months, the increase was 1% for all participants and 7% for Mentoring participants.

Financial resilience: There was no change in levels of financial resilience (defined as being in work, receiving benefits and worry about bill).

Knowing where to get help: The percentage of all participants who knew were to get help with money increased by 14% points after taking part in Many Sisters, and for those receiving Mentoring sessions by 20% points.

Points to consider

  • Methodological strengths/weaknesses: Note that the report incorrectly describes ‘percentage point’ differences as ‘percentage’ differences and will therefore under- or over-state differences in some cases.
    • The results do not distinguish outcomes for the target group of beneficiaries, i.e. female tenants, from non-tenants.
    • The survey results are subject to small sample numbers and moderately high levels of non-response.
  • Generalisability/transferability: Significance testing is not reported as having been undertaken, therefore it is important not to generalise the findings beyond the sample. Moreover, it is not clear how representative the survey samples were of the population of all participating women.
    • Most of the women participating were targeted for recruitment into Many Sisters because they were past clients of the Financial Skills Officers. This might indicate that the findings of the process and impact elements of the evaluation are not generalisable to all women in the relevant population.

Key info

Activities and setting
Many Sisters workshops and 1-2-1 Money Mentoring delivered online to women in East London
Programme delivered by
Southern Housing Group’s ‘Many Sisters’ team and Bags of Taste, Quaker Social Action, Juliet Alexander, Deja Moi, Hackney Sewing Wick and The Money Charity.
Year of publication
United Kingdom, England
Contact information

Emily Crawford and Caroline Masundire, RocketScience, T: 0207 253 6289 Fleet House 8-12 New Bridge St, London EC4V 6AL 6EJ, rocketsciencelab.co.uk