Better Off Finance provides tailored support to people who want to improve their financial capability, as well as those who face challenges moving towards or accessing sustainable employment opportunities.
The project is led by The Women’s Organisation and delivered in partnership with Citizens Advice Liverpool, Citizens Advice Halton, Citizens Advice St Helens, Citizens Advice Sefton, Citizens Advice Wirral, Citizens Advice Knowsley and RAISE. The result has given hundreds of people access to the tools they need to improve their financial situation and progress to positive and, in many cases, life-changing outcomes.
What does Better Off Finance do?
Better Off Finance supports individuals to manage and understand their money better, so they can overcome the barriers that prevent them from getting sustainable employment. Working under The Women’s Organisation, each partner provides a combination of practical and personal support tailored to the individual’s strengths and goals.
Participants are given help to maximise their benefits and address any debts, and educated in ways to stretch their household budgets further and search for better deals on their bills. Help is also given to apply for hardship and furniture grants and access specialist advice for anyone who has complex money issues.
Alongside this, individuals are empowered to grow their financial resilience and their self-confidence, as they began to look for work. Practical assistance in everything from building digital skills to CV writing, and helping them access personal development and training courses such as ‘My Turn’ and ‘Money Mentors’, helps to give participants the best chance of success in finding and keeping a job that suits them.
The Women’s Organisation project manages the scheme, helping to make sure as many people as possible access the resources, and that all partners have the support they need.
Impact on partner organisations
One of the biggest impacts of Better Off Finance has been the relationships that have grown across the region, especially with Job Centre Plus and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). As one chief officer said:
“Citizens Advice has always had good links to community partners, but links outside these areas have been weaker. By working with The Women’s Organisation, we have been introduced to other partners in the Liverpool City Region and widened our networks, for example to deaf and visually impaired organisations, NHS England and Mencap.”
The project also allows partners to reach more widely into the community and help those with additional barriers, such as ex-offenders, to accessing services, as well as establishing better, closer working relationships within their own organisations.
Impact on participants
Each Citizens Advice office said they had seen similar direct impacts on their service users. High numbers of participants have moved into employment following Better Off Finance, while many more have accessed training opportunities though the project.
The majority of Key Workers have helped participants to increase their self-confidence, using a range of tools to identify their strengths and ambitions. One Key Worker said:
“A participant was getting help putting together a CV and they told us that they had been told to write one on another programme but were never offered any help. So they felt even worse when they struggled. We helped them develop a CV they were happy with and they started looking for work feeling a lot better about themselves.”
By building trusting relationships with participants, most have developed greater financial resilience, growing their knowledge of how to handle unexpected changes in circumstances and how to access complementary services like health and wellbeing initiatives. One participant said:
“The best thing by far about the project was having that one-to-one support from my advisor. They always kept their promises and encouraged me on so many levels to achieve my aims and objectives. I am now able to contribute to the family financial pot and this has improved the family dynamic. I know that I am capable person, and I have a lot of skills and qualities to offer any employer.”
For More Information on Better Off Finance
Contact our team by:
Telephone: 0151 706 8111
How is Better Off Finance funded?
Better Off Finance has received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
Find out more about our current Better Off Finance support here.