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Cash Pointers Up Front

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The Cash Pointers Up Front programme was set up by 1625 Independent People (1625ip) to explore the potential for a peer education model to improve financial capability among vulnerable young people. The intervention was offered in non-mainstream education settings across the Bristol and South Gloucestershire area, taking the form of three one-hour sessions of financial capability training to cohorts of up to 25 people aged 14-18.

Project Coordinators employed a co-delivery model involving at least one volunteer Peer Educator with personal experience of financial difficulties. Sessions included practical group activities to enable discussions, as well as to relate financial concepts and skills to the experiences of both the learners and the Peer Educators. The project team recruited 22 Peer Educators with experience of financial problems, including those linked to crime, debt, substance abuse, homelessness and unemployment. Project staff helped the Peer Educators to participate fully by developing an understanding of the support that they would need as well as fostering ‘community spirit’ through group work, social events, and on social media.

The study

This 2018 report from 1625ip encompassed both an outcomes evaluation and a process evaluation. The outcomes evaluation sought to answer the following question:

How/can a Peer Education approach support the Cash Pointers Up Front financial training programme to improve financial capability for vulnerable young people outside of mainstream education and/or with diagnosed and undiagnosed mild learning difficulties?

A series of quantitative outcome measures were developed by 1625ip Project Staff in collaboration with the evaluation team. The outcome measures (assessed immediately before the first workshop session and immediately after the final workshop session) were:

  • A ten-item financial concept and definition matching exercise that assessed understanding of financial products;
  • A budgeting exercise to assess money management skills;
  • A series of self-reported behaviour statements to gauge financial related behaviour, cognition and confidence.

Post-project interviews with 25 participants as well as a focus group were also conducted to further understanding of:

  • The impact of the intervention on participants’ financial capability;
  • How they found the experience;
  • What worked well;
  • How the Peer Educator affected their learning.

The process evaluation examined areas of the intervention such as commissioning, marketing, recruitment and the evaluation process itself. Interviews were conducted with the project team, key partners and the Peer Educators.

Key findings

  • In general, the quantitative findings suggested that young peoples’ attitudes to money, financial capability skills and knowledge were enhanced by the intervention.
  • Students showed a statistically significant improvement in money management following the workshops. For example, pre/post intervention scores improved from 0.53 to 0.95 on a budgeting test scored between 0-1.
  • There was also a statistically significant improvement in the financial concept matching exercise, with pre/post intervention scores improving from 6.04 to 7.31 on a budgeting test scored out of 10.
  • The interviews suggested an improvement in financial attitudes, including thinking ahead and taking greater responsibility, awareness of others’ financial situations and needs, and feeling empowered to form opinions about financial issues.
  • The interviews also suggested that the Peer Educator played an important role, motivating students and having an impact through sharing their personal experiences and stories.
  • The process evaluation highlighted the importance of dialogue in the commissioning process; the use of existing staff and their expertise and relationships; and a flexible approach, adjusting to challenges and problems within the workshops quickly.
  • The evidence emphasised the role of the Peer Educator, stating they were particularly important in developing rapport with learners.
  • Potential improvements include a clearer commissioning process, a longer planning period, and follow-up sessions to cement learning as well as supporting a longitudinal outcomes evaluation.

Points to consider

  • Methodological strengths/weaknesses: The lack of survey data from a control group makes it difficult to state with certainty if the observable changes are due to the intervention.
  • This evaluation reports whether findings are statistically significant. We can therefore have a fair degree of confidence in the results.
  • Long-term change resulting from the intervention is not measured by this evaluation.
  • The process evaluation team noted the difficulties caused by having separate teams working on different parts of the evaluation, and suggested that in future further evaluations should consider both the processes and the outcomes together.
  • Generalisability/ transferability: The evaluation is of significant interest to those looking to design and implement financial capability interventions among vulnerable young people, in particular to those interested in the role of peer educators
  • Relevance: The intervention took place in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, so findings do not necessarily represent the rest of the UK.

Key info

Activities and setting
A course of three workshops delivered by 1625 Independent People and a Peer Educator to 611 learners across 56 cohorts in the South West of England.
Programme delivered by
1625 Independent People
Year of publication
Contact information

University of Bath (Outcomes Evaluation) - Sam Carr, Ioannis Costas Batlle

University of the West of England (Process Evaluation) – Pam Moule, Jon Fieldhouse, Julie Woodley Julie Ellis-Jones, Vanessa Parmenter

1625 Independent People (Evaluation Lead) - Harry Greatorex

1625 Independent People