Lessons in Money for the Big Brother Generation
Published by Emma Tedman for The Hyde Group in Housing and also in Care and Support, Communities, Education, Local Government
Young Money Champion Chris Williams chats to Hyde Plus Director Sarah Thurman
A pioneering programme which prepares young people for living independently celebrated its first birthday this month (12 June).
The Money House, led by The Hyde Group, sees a group of young people spend a week in a Greenwich flat, experiencing independent life for the first time. While in The Money House they learn new skills, including budgeting for rent and household bills while building their financial confidence. The Money House participants take part in a cook off challenge and even have access to a Diary Room where they can make observations on what they are learning and provide feedback on the course.
Since opening last year over 100 16-25 year olds have successfully graduated from The Money House programme and the effect on their lives has been overwhelmingly positive. An independent evaluation to be published next month found that 90% of graduates were successfully managing their finances and tenancies, avoiding rent arrears.
Household debt has become an all-too-familiar experience for many, meaning programmes like The Money House are becoming increasingly important, especially for those living in social housing. A June 2014 report found that the number of calls about household debts to the National Debtline service has risen by 140% since 2007.
The Money House is funded by £1m of Big Lottery money over four years. The programme is delivered by the Hyde Group’s social investment arm, Hyde Plus, in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greenwich CAB and Meridian Money Advice. Course materials were developed with specialist financial education charity MyBnk.
Speaking at an event in Woolwich to mark the first birthday of The Money House, Sarah Thurman, Director of Hyde Plus, said:
“We are so proud of our Money House graduates. After completing the course they have gone on to put their new found skills to good use in their everyday lives, which is just wonderful. This programme is helping the next generation become more financially confident and better at managing money. These skills are essential if we want young people to lead successful independent lives.
In the future we hope to extend The Money House project to other social housing tenants. It’s a mutually beneficial programme. We know that the more we can encourage financial competence among young tenants the fewer problems those people will have as they develop their lives and so the fewer problems we will have with arrears and benefit dependency. This programme is good for the young people, good for us as social landlords and good for society.”
Chris Williams, 24 year old Money House Graduate from Greenwich said:
“When I first heard about The Money House, I thought it would be just a dull lecture with people going on about money, but it was actually quite a fun course. It has helped me with things like budgeting and my money now lasts a few weeks, rather than just one.
When I first came to The Money House I was a bit edgy about money, you can get all sorts of different products; high and low interest. But now I feel more comfortable, the most useful thing I learnt was how money works in financial terms, so the costs of borrowing and interest.
The learning is fun and it’s an ideal way to learn new life skills. I would say to other young people to come to The Money house. It will give them more skills and help them in the long term.”
Young tenants are the most likely to experience failed tenancies and evictions as a result of rent arrears, which is why The Money House is such an important project. The programme is now mandatory for social housing tenants in Greenwich, under the age of 24.
The attendee’s, that included Greenwich Councillor John Fahy and new Hyde Group Chief Executive Elaine Bailey, took part in two practical Money House workshops delivered by energetic course tutor Nick Patel.
There were also presentations from Hyde’s Group Finance Director, Simon Peacock, on the long term business benefits of projects like The Money House and London Borough of Greenwich’s Director of Housing Services, John Clark.
For more information please contact Emma Tedman, Communications Business Partner, The Hyde Group on: 0203 207 2702, M: 07918 057587 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Money Advice Trust Report June 2014 http://www.infohub.moneyadvicetrust.org/resource.asp?pub_id=204&rPath=pub&r_id=1004
About The Money House
The Money House is a real flat where over 100 young people have already learned basic financial skills: how to prioritise bills, how to avoid debt, how to manage a weekly or monthly budget and how to make sense of credit card and loan jargon. The realistic scenarios and the life-like pressures of dealing with multiple bills and conflicting demands help to develop the skills young people need to live independently and manage their incomes.
The Money House graduates are aged between 16 and 25, and are either about to become social housing tenants or already live in a socially rented home. For some of them, The Money House was their first experience of dealing with bills and rent and making sense of APR and AER. Some but not all are tenants of the Hyde Group in Greenwich.
Find out more about The Money House at www.hyde-housing.co.uk/hydeplus/themoneyhouse