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Get £ F+IT - does increasing the digital skills of older people increase their financial capability?

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

Get £ F+IT was delivered by Cornwall Rural Community Charity (CRCC). The project aimed to increase the digital financial literacy and capability of 80-100 older people (over 60 years of age). Activities focused on developing participants online skills to manage their money, through six half-day digital inclusion sessions. Tools and online resources were also provided. The project was delivered by three members of staff, and local community volunteers. 132 people participated in the programme.

The study

The target group were drawn from four rural locations across Cornwall, and experienced a range of accessibility and deprivation issues.

The evaluation was designed to answer the following research question:

Does increasing the digital skills of older people living in a rural area increase their financial capability?

The evaluation included outcomes, process, and economic elements, and followed HM Treasury guidance. The economic evaluation considered the value-for-money and cost effectiveness of the project and included a social return on investment (SROI). Pre- and post- questionnaires were completed by 95 people. In-depth follow-up surveys were completed by 25 participants three months after the programme. The evaluation included interviews with four staff, 30 participants and five stakeholders, and two focus groups with staff and participants.

Key findings

Outcomes evaluation:

  • Participants improved their digital literacy. All the follow-up respondents had accessed the internet in the last seven days and commented that they felt safe going online.
  • Participants used their enhanced digital skills to maximise their income and its use. Around a third had switched/considered switching one or more of their utility providers. A smaller number had looked for information online, and carried out a range of online activities including banking, comparing financial products, shopping and buying insurance.

Process evaluation

  • Having the right delivery staff in place, demonstrating money management and technical/IT skills, was essential.
  • Being ‘hyper local’, finding venues that older people could walk or ‘scoot’ to worked well.
  • Ensuring the right format was important. Fun and engaging content that was applicable to the needs of older people helped to maintain participants’ interest.
  • Recruiting and supporting local community volunteers led to peer-to-peer support and the on-going championing of financial capability.
  • Maintaining partnerships helps provide participants with wraparound support (e.g. care planning, benefits take-up, debt advice).
  • Older people are an invaluable resource, and were an integral part of, the project. They helped CRCC design and deliver the project. Some participants became volunteers (‘community champions’), to continue developing financial capability in rural communities after the project.

Economic evaluation

  • The evaluation estimated that for every £1.00 spent, the value of the outcomes produced was £6.57.

· Get £ F+IT was considered cost effective and found to offer value-for-money when compared to similar initiatives.

Points to consider

Methodological limitations:

  • The sample size was not large enough to support testing for statistical significance.
  • It is not stated if the survey responses were matched for analysis. It is therefore unclear if the same people completed the pre- and post- surveys. This reduces the reliability of the results.

Generalisability/ transferability:

  • The evaluation could not asses the achievement of long term goals as the project was delivered in one year. However, the three month follow-up questionnaire will be repeated in a further nine months, to explore whether outcomes have been sustained. These results may be of interest to other providers wishing to establish digital financial capability programmes for older people.

Key info

Client group
Activities and setting
Half-day digital inclusion sessions
Programme delivered by
Cornwall Rural Community Charity (CRCC)
Year of publication
Contact information