Since the pandemic began, many families and communities across the UK have been thrown into financial chaos. Over a quarter of households have faced a reduction in income (Bank of England); issues of unemployment, furlough, Universal Credit, bills and arrears have impacted millions of families.
Through a Benefact Trust grant, the Just Finance Foundation was able to expand its COVID Cash Course, an information and signposting workshop, empowering churches and community leaders to help their communities through a train-the-trainer model. This has now benefited over 30,000 individuals in need of signposting, resources, and accessible financial information.
Across nearly 150 Benefact Trust-backed courses, over 1,100 churches, charities, and community leaders have been trained to help their communities. From training the staff of the two biggest foodbanks in Northumberland and Newcastle to working with Black Churches in East London, the course has spread to all corners of the UK. Firemen and women in Middlesbrough have been trained and even Citizen’s Advice volunteers in Exeter.
Adeyinka Olushonde, a community worker in Liverpool, began rolling the course out to those need in April 2020 and has continued to do so ever since:
“Uptake for that first event was so successful that within just 24 hours of it being advertised, it was sold out!”
“It is great that we have such enthusiasm for the course but, in another way, it is quite telling. Liverpool was already a city with high levels of deprivation, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this extremely difficult situation for so many individuals and families.”
The course has helped those in need like Darren*:
“The course mentioned The Payplan Partnership who are a debt counselling service… my debts were over £15,000” explained Darren who had unfortunately also been the victim of an online scam.
“Had I not attended the COVID cash course run by the Just Finance Foundation, I would not have found out about Payplan… I now have a job with the NHS and am awaiting a start date”
*pseudonym to protect the identity of the attendee