Financial Inclusion Header

Extract from sankes and ladders game
Snakes and Ladders - Climbing out of Poverty A snakes and ladders game has been developed to highlight the pitfalls and the support that can affect the level of poverty experienced by local people. A launch event of the game took place on 20 April at Shirebrook Market, and Dennis Skinner MP and Natascha Engle MP were first up to play. Here is a short video of both MPs playing the game. Video Footage

Financial Inclusion Project Main

Financial Inclusion Project

 

About the project...

This project was commissioned to deliver the Bolsover District Financial Inclusion Strategy agreed by the Bolsover Partnership covering the period 2009-2014. Its aim was to reduce levels of financial exclusion in the district by:

  • Improving the co-ordination of financial inclusion activity in the district
  • Increasing access to free and impartial advice
  • Increasing access to affordable credit
  • Increasing the capacity of local people to make informed financial decisions
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Financial Inclusion Project Contacts

 

 

Project Manager

Debt Advice Worker

Benefits Advice Worker

Lorna Wallace
Chief Executive Officer
CVP
Kitchen Croft
Bolsover
S44 6NF
Tel: 01246 823852
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jane Heeley
CVP
Kitchen Croft
Bolsover
S44 6NF
Tel: 01246 823852

Glynn Power
CVP
Kitchen Croft
Bolsover
S44 6NF
Tel: 01246 823852

Websites


www.bolsovercvp.org.uk
www.2shires.org.uk
www.duwc.org.uk
www.ned-cab.org.uk

 

Resources

Open pdf documentFinal Evaluation Report

Open pdf documentb£IT Newsletter Issue 4

Open pdf documentb£IT Newsletter Issue 3

Open pdf documentb£IT Newsletter Issue 2

Open pdf documentb£IT Newsletter Issue 1

Bolsover District Financial Inclusion Strategy

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Financial Inclusion Project Case Studies

MPs Play Snakes and Ladders to Highlight the Plight of those in Poverty

On Friday 20 April Dennis Skinner MP and Natascha Engel MP rolled the first dice on a life size game of Snakes and Ladders.  Shirebrook Market Place was the venue for the first outing of the game produced by the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centres (DUWCs).

The game, which everyone knows from childhood, seeks to show how difficult it can be to achieve a secure, full-time job that will lift a person and their family out of poverty.

“I got the idea from a group of people experiencing poverty who are in the organisations Migrant Voice and ATD Fourth World.” said Colin Hampton Co-ordinator of the DUWCs, “They produced a mural depicting a game of Snakes and Ladders expressing the policies and practical guidance that helps people achieve their goals and those which prevent a person from escaping poverty often making things worse.”

“I was very impressed.” Colin went on to say “I asked them if I could develop the idea as an educational tool making a life-size version using people as counters.  They gave me the thumbs up and Bolsover Partnership agreed the funding through Community Volutary Partners (CVP) and Financial Inclusion Project.”

DUWCs say that Public Attitude Surveys show an alarming ignorance of the causes of poverty and the difficulties that people face.  A majority put poverty down to bad luck, personal failing or a natural occurrence. DUWCs argue that research shows that poverty is fuelled by a range of factors as well as being closely linked to the start a person has in life.

“We hope that through this game we can show people the ladders – Credit Unions, high quality training, job creation, support and advice, that can help people achieve their potential.” Colin went on to say. “We also want to highlight the pitfalls that many people face – the cutting of benefits, the breakdown of relationships, discrimination against those suffering ill health and disability, to name but a few.”

Following the high profile players, including Cllr Eion Watts and Cllr Anne Western, members of the public were invited to play the game.

“We hope that at the end of the game people will realise that poverty does not only exist in developing countries.  Many people in the UK are living hand to mouth with no bank account, few local shops and constantly juggling bills and debts.” Colin concluded.

After the launch the game will be exhibited at Shirebrook Academy on Thursday 26th April, Bolsover School on May 12th and at galas and events throughout the spring and summer.

 

Mr W

Mr W was claiming DLA high mobility/middle rate care and Pension Credit with his wife. He was taken into hospital where he remained for two weeks. He received a letter stating that his DLA would be stopped as he had been in hospital for more than four weeks. Subsequently, this resulted in their Pension Credit being suspended.  We wrote to the hospitals where he stayed to get discharge letters. These show that the claimant was only hospitalised for two weeks. Shortly after appealing the decision and sending evidence, the decision was revised. The claimants’ payments were re-instated – DLA £1,611.20 arrears and £100.70 per week and Pension Credit £2,132.12 arrears and £115 per week.

 

Miss Y

Miss Y was married with three children. Her partner had recently found employment which amounted to 20 hours per week. She was informed that they would currently be entitled to Tax Credits along with their Child Tax Credits, however, due to Government changes to Tax Credits, from April 2012 they would no longer be entitled to Working Tax Credits.  To retain their entitlement, her partner would need to make his hours up to 24, or one of them work 16 hours per week and the other work 8. A combination of both working 12 hours would not meet the guidelines.

 

Client I

The client has serious health problems and is in receipt of the highest rates of DLA.  She and her partner had been paying a debt management company to deal with their debts but the repayments were unsustainable.

On advice, it was made apparent that the client would qualify for a DRO – her debts were below the £15,000 limit, she had no assets and had limited monthly available income.

An application was submitted and approved.  The client is now released from the worry her debts were causing her which was detrimental to her health, as all the debts are written off after a year and no payment needs to be made during this year period creditors cannot pursue the client for payment.

 

Client H

The client was referred by her Housing Officer.  She had extensive rent arrears dating back to when she lived with her ex partner who had not paid the rent, even though he had been given the money.  As the client had fallen behind on her suspended court order, the Council applied for an eviction warrant.

Although the client works she had used various “pay day loan companies” to supplement her income.  As they took their loan repayments out of her account automatically, she was left with insufficient money to get to work and pay her rent.  The client was advised to change her bank account so that her income was secure for her to pay essential bills.  The client was represented at court and the eviction warrant suspended.

 

Client G

The client made contact on referral from her GP surgery as she had fallen behind on payment to her Housing Association.  She had a suspended order and the landlord had applied for an eviction warrant.  The client was not aware she could apply for Housing Benefit – she was in receipt of Maternity Allowance.  After an application for benefit and negotiation with the landlord, the client was successfully represented at court and the eviction warrant suspended.

 

Client F

The client suffers from health problems and has been prone to collapsing for no apparent reason.  The doctors feel she may have some form of epilepsy, but this has yet to be formally diagnosed.

She separated from her partner a little while ago.  She has two dependant children living with her and another who has just left school, as well as a 17 year old friend of the family who left the parental home.  As she only receives JSA and benefits for the two younger children, she has struggled to make ends meet and has fallen behind on a suspended possession order re mortgage arrears.  Her lender applied for an eviction warrant.  Some of the arrears arose as the DWP made an error and ceased payment towards the mortgage.

The client was referred by the Council as they felt that the mortgage rescue scheme might be applicable.  The client was represented at court and the eviction suspended subject to payment from both the client and the DWP plus a payment on the arrears.  The client has also been referred for advice on benefit entitlement. 

 

Client E

The client and her partner were referred by their GP surgery in the spring – he suffers from depression and is at risk of committing suicide.  The clients were both unemployed but actively seeking work.

Both were worried about the risk of losing their house – they had approximately £9,000 mortgage arrears and a large number of non priority creditors.  As the clients were only in receipt of basic benefit and due to their low mortgage payments, only eligible to a small amount of mortgage interest, they were unable to make payment towards their mortgage.  Although the lender was sympathetic to the situation, they issued a possession summons at the end of August.

Fortunately, the client obtained work and she was then in a position to pay the mortgage – an offer was made to the lender to pay the contractual mortgage payment plus an amount to clear the arrears over the rest of the term of the mortgage.  The lender agreed, given the circumstances, to allow the clients to pay less towards their arrears to give the clients more money towards their essential expenditure.  The clients were represented at Court where a suspended possession order was granted – i.e. as long as the clients make payments they will be allowed to stay in their property.  Non priority creditors are accepting token offers. 

 

Client D

The client had separated from her partner, worked part time and claimed Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits for her and her child. She made contact with the project because she had fallen behind on payments for her mortgage and secured loan, and had received a possession summons from her mortgage company. The Client was also in arrears with her Council Tax and non priority creditors.

The client was represented in the County Court and the possession adjourned for a three month period whilst an application for the Mortgage Rescue Scheme (MRS) was made.  This is a government backed scheme where a housing association buys the property and rents it back to the client. Financial statements will be prepared to show the client’s financial situation at the time, and also what it would be if they were to rent the property – i.e. the mortgage was unaffordable, but the rent was within the personal budget.

This involves working with the local District Council who has to assess whether the client is eligible in terms of being in priority need and that the property fits within the financial limits.

Given the value of the property and the outstanding mortgage there was insufficient money to clear in full the secured loan.  However, after negotiation, the loan company wrote off a proportion of the debt and Bolsover District Council also contributed £3,000 from their homelessness prevention fund.

The client was again represented in August in the County Court where a further adjournment was agreed whilst the MRS application continues.  At present the Housing Association has made an offer to purchase the property subject to contract.  Completion is expected within the next month with the client and her son secure in their accommodation.

 

Mr P

 Mr P found himself in difficulties after his mother died.  He has a younger brother and two older sisters who are both estranged from the mother.  He was left in charge of dealing with the funeral and wanted to know what help he may be entitled to.

The first thing he did was to make an application to the Social Fund for a Funeral Payment and because he had recently lost his job while caring for his mother he had not claimed Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).  The situation was explained to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and an appointment was made for him at his local Jobcentre for him to claim JSA. 

A claim was made for him to receive Guardian’s Allowance and HM Revenue & Customs were notified of the change in circumstances relating to Child Benefit and Tax Credits, so that he could receive Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits in his own right as he was now responsible for his brother. 

 

Client C

The client is in her mid 60s and suffers from cancer.  Her husband is in his 70s and has the likely onset of dementia.  When visited late last year the clients had not opened some post for approximately three months and any post that had been opened was in a heap.  The envelopes were all opened amongst which was a court letter saying that a lender had been granted possession of the property (due to mortgage arrears) and the clients had not attended court and made an offer of payment. 

Both clients are in receipt of pension and high rate mobility and high rate care Disability Living Allowance.  Whilst in receipt of Pension Credit this is not at the correct amount. 

The clients have a large number of non priority debts.  Contact was made with the lender who has agreed not to enforce the possession order as long as the clients make payments on a monthly basis (contractual and arrears) and after six payments, the arrears will be capitalised.  The lender also expressed concern about the health of the clients and the conditions in which they were living and offered any help they could give. 

A referral has been made to Framework so that they can give ongoing support, ensure payments are made and take any other action as appropriate.

Contact has been made with the Pension Service.  They were not aware the clients have a mortgage or secured loan and sent out several forms to check receipt of Disability Living Allowance (to qualify for higher rates of benefit) but these have not been returned. A form has been sent about the latter and returned to the Pension Service.

As the constant contact from non priority creditors is causing the clients extreme distress, token offers are being negotiated whilst the benefit issues are sorted.

 

Client B

The client is single and is his late 40s.  He had ceased work due to ill health. As a result of his health condition he receives long term incapacity benefit, Disability Living Allowance high rate mobility and low rate care. The client’s health condition is worsening and ultimately the client expects to use a wheelchair in the longer term.

The client sold his house and moved to the coast. Unfortunately he was sold accommodation that was not suitable for all year use.  This therefore had to be sold (at a loss) and the client returned to this area.  The client then took out a loan and used catalogues and credit cards to refurnish his property as he did not have sufficient monies for all he needed.  In total his debts were in the region of £14,500.

Until the beginning of the year the client had been maintaining payments to creditors but was finding the payments unmanageable, particularly as he was now paying for someone to come and help clean the flat and help him with some personal care needs.

Although the client’s debts were within the limit for a Debt Relief Order, the client was not eligible to apply as he has a small pension payable at retirement age and a car over the value of £1,000 (needed because of his illness).  Bankruptcy forms were completed, the client borrowed the fee from family and he presented his petition for bankruptcy. The official receiver anticipates that given the value of the car, and taking into account the client’s health problems, the client will be able to keep the vehicle. 

 

Client A

Male client lives with his partner and their young baby.  Client’s current situation is that he has an illness/disability which has left a weakness on one side.  As a result of this he is not able to work and is in receipt of Incapacity Benefit with an Income Support top up.  The client also receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – low rate care and low rate mobility.  This is due for renewal.  Whilst his partner was working he had a daily visit from a carer who would prepare him a meal.  His partner is on maternity leave and does not feel able to return to work and leave him, particularly as he would struggle to look after their baby when he is having a “bad day”.

Major issues:

  • Client and partner live in private rented property – they have rent arrears and have been issued with a notice seeking possession.
  • Client owned a property with his former partner, this has been repossessed and there is a mortgage shortfall of approx £30,000 owing.
  • Client has a Council Tax debt and has arrears on his gas and electricity of approx £900.  He also owes money to a number of non priority creditors.
  • Client’s partner also has a number of non priority debts – many of which are with doorstep lenders.  She has been paying £80 per month to a Debt Management Company (only £65 is paid to creditors) but is finding these payments are causing hardship.  At the time of visiting the clients, they had no money until the next payment of Incapacity Benefit was due, 10 days later.

Options, advice and action:

  • Affordable payment arrangement agreed with private landlord who has said they will halt any further possession action.
  • Referral made to Welfare Rights Worker to help with DLA renewal (may be entitled to higher rate) – home visit to be arranged as client virtually housebound, particularly as partner’s car needs tgree tyres.
  • Debt Management Plan cancelled.  Partner to be assisted with a Plan by debt worker – token offers of £1 per month.
  • Client’s only option is to petition for bankruptcy.  To have a “fresh start” would help with his medical condition as the worry of his debts worsens his condition.   As the fee is £450 an application has been submitted to the Severn Trent Trust Fund for possible help.
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Financial Inclusion Project Outputs

 

 

Outputs 08/09
Actual
09/10
Actual
10/11
Actual
11/12
Actual
Total
Jobs created     6   6
People benefiting from debt advice     161 209 370
Volunteering opportunities created     53 19 72
People accessing volunteering opportunities     31 1 32

Community one stop shops established

    5 3 8
People accessing welfare benefits advice     1,157 1,624 2,781
Additional welfare benefits recovered     £542k £689k £1,2m
New Credit Union collection points     3 7 10
New members of the credit union     141 122 263
Workplaces with Credit Union membership     1 1 2
People trained to give financial capability support     8 7 15
Schools providing capability courses     1   1
New school saver clubs     3   3
Employees benefiting from training     29 21 50

 

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Financial Inclusion Project Archive

 

2011/12 Year End

During this quarter activity has concentrated on the future with WNF ceasing at the end of March 2012. It has been agreed that the current financial inclusion partnership will be widened and extended, and CVP will co-ordinate and facilitate quarterly financial inclusion partnership meetings. This is a good outcome of the project and will leave a legacy from the financial investment of the WNF. 

CVP will also continue to attend and participate in Financial Inclusion Derbyshire Steering Group meetings. A draft Financial Inclusion Strategy for Derbyshire has been developed and is currently being finalised.

A comprehensive library of Financial Capability materials has been purchased and is available for future use.

Meetings have been held with Shirebrook Financial Health Group on several occasions to try to assist this group in moving forward.

2011/12 Quarter 3

2 Shires Credit Union
Whilst new membership of the Credit Union (CU) is not yet on target, it is increasing and outputs are expected to be close to target by the end of the year.  A new collection point at the Social Club in Doe Lea has opened following the closure of the Social Club in Glapwell.  The CU is keen to seek more volunteers to reduce the reliance on paid staff.

DUWC
Additional staff time has been provided by existing staff to meet demand for advice.

NEDCAB
Clients continue to be advised on debt issues.  Attended court on eight occassions with clients on bankruptcy, repossessions and evictions.  Many cases are extremely complex and it is reported that it is difficult to cope with the demand for debt advice.

Legacy
One stop shops – three appropriate one stop shops have been identified. The 2 Shires CU is working alongside DUWC in delivering their services at the same time.  There is now a one-stop shop in Clowne, South Normanton and Bolsover Methodist Church (opening January 12). 

The Saturday one-stop shop at Kitchencroft is still running and gets a steady flow of clients.

Kiosks – a partner meeting has taken place to discuss kiosks and existing/proposed sites have been mapped.

Website - a financial inclusion website will be developed providing access to FIS partners sites and other information/advice and will be programmed onto the kiosks.

2011/12 Quarter 2

A number of key project staff left during this quarter.  A contingency plan was agreed by all project partners and was presented to Bolsover Partnership’s Executive Board and Technical Group at the end of September.  The contingency plan was endorsed and CVP are now in the process of delivering it.

CVP’s Chief Executive Officer has attended a number of Financial Inclusion Derbyshire meetings to ensure continued partnership working between the two projects.  The main piece of work undertaken during this period has been working with a multi agency group established to produce an expression of interest for the BIG Lottery Financial Confidence Fund.  The expression of interest has been submitted.  It has been agreed that CVP will be the lead body if this bid is successful.  A decision is expected by November.

2011/12 Quarter 1
  • Two members of staff left during Quarter 1, so discussions have been taking place about replacing staff with sessional workers and buying in additional support
  • Work is underway to help progress the BIG Lottery Fund ‘Improving Financial Confidence’ bid which is aimed at reducing financial exclusion for social housing tenants
  • 227 new clients were given welfare benefits advice, giving a cumulative total of 1,384 new cases since April 2010.  Over £163,000 benefits were recovered (the highest so far) – in part this is due to many of the tribunal cases starting to come through
  • 44 new clients given debt advice, taking the total to 204
  • Net gain of 27 new credit union members, with 31 new loans totalling £21,000 (average loan £680).  From 23 June the Credit Union is now known as Two Shires Credit Union.

2010/11 Year End

Key activities in Quarter 4 include:

  • Three ‘Making Sense of Your Money’ campaigns in Tibshelf, Glapwell and Blackwell with over 56 people benefiting from intense advice during these campaigns
  • Joint campaign with Bolsover District Council Housing to support tenants identified as needing specific interventions
  • Two new credit union collection points were opened in Glapwell and South Normanton
  • Continuing to work with colleagues to refine and develop the community champion model and community one stop shop.
  • In March, worked with ROWA (Read On Write Away) to organise a volunteering/ community champions event at Doe Lea which was attended by over 50 local volunteers
  • Delivered financial capability training to the Bridge Project (formerly Route 4), and the Raising Aspirations project.
  • Delivered training to staff and volunteers in local Childrens centres at Shirebrook and Whaley Thorns.
  • Discussions taking place with Tesco distribution about payroll deduction for employees.
  • Advice and guidance provided to over 250 employees at Sports Direct in Shirebrook
  • Credit union payroll deduction continues to be discussed with Bolsover District Council.
  • 334 new clients receiving benefits advice with a third of all cases to date now being closed.
  • An additional £542,238 in benefits has been recovered in 2010/11.
  • Some movement is now being seen by the Tribunal Service in addressing the backlog of outstanding cases (approx. 150 tribunals outstanding at the moment).
  • 47 new members of the credit union with 44 new loans totalling £22,927 (average loan is £521). The savings compared to high interest lenders is over £275 in lower repayments per loan. 37 of these loans have been Smartloans (loans for people who have not been members) totalling £17,507. Without Smartloans, which are funded by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), these people would be prey to high interest lenders (legal and illegal). The DWP have further extended the smartloan contract for Worksop and District Credit Union.

The project has achieved a considerable amount in 2010/11 over-achieving on many of its output targets, particularly around debt and benefits advice.  Some outputs however have not been achieved and discussions with the project manager will take place to address this.  The biggest issue for the project moving forward is the availability of external funding to continue activities.  There is a requirement for additional funding to be gained or the outcome will be the project folding by December 2011.  The Big Lottery are launching a new fund in June 2011 which may prove to be one source of revenue, as could the Coalfields Regeneration Trust main grants programme which recently secured additional funding through the Department for Communities and Local Government.

2010/11 Quarter 3
Key activities in Quarter 3 include:
  • The Financial Services Authrity authorising the extension of the common bond for the credit union to the whole of the district.  Four new collection points will be established by March 2011 in South Normanton, Tibshelf, Glapwell and one other.
  • A meeting with Tesco at Barlborough to discuss payroll deduction for the credit union. They employ over 1000 workers, and are recommending that they go ahead to their board.
  • NAVCA published a report on intelligent commissioning in December, called a Bridge Between Two Worlds. This features a case study of the Bolsover Financial Inclusion Project.
  • 271 new welfare benefit cases giving a cumulative total of 823 new cases since April 2010, (target for 2010/11 is 600). The files on a third of these cases have now been closed, and £355,320.70 in additional benefits has been recovered against a target of £250,000 for 2010/11. This is made up of £33,088 in one off and backdated payments, and weekly payments totalling £322,232.
  • 41 new clients with debt problems, bringing the total since the project started to 114.  Total debt across all these cases is £2,028,583.  Of the 114 cases so far:
    • in 103 cases people had no savings
    • 31 had debts with doorstep and payday lenders
    • 70 included priority debts (i.e. mortgage, rent, tax)
    • 67 earn under £14.5k per annum.
  • 24 new members of the credit union with 39 new loans totalling £17,000 (average loan is £393). The savings compared to high interest lenders is over £275 in lower repayments per loan.
2010/11 Quarter 2
Key activities during Quarter 2:
  • Published the first print issue of B£IT News in August
  • Established a new credit union collection point in Bolsover Methodist Centre
  • Junior Savings Club launched at Bolsover Church of England school
  • 306 new welfare benefit cases with £135,047 recovered
  • 40 new clients with debt problems, total debts of £862,521
  • 40 new members of the credit union
  • 46 new loans arranged through the credit union totalling £14,595 (savings average £200 per client)
  • Appeared live on Radio Sheffield discussing access to basic bank accounts and credit union.
  • Clowne credit union collection point moved to the Parish Rooms
  • Delivered 24 presentations and talks on Financial Inclusion.
  • 10 new volunteers trained to enable the new collection point to be established at Bolsover.
  • Contributed to research by the National Association of Voluntary and Community Councils (NAVCA) on ‘Intelligent Commissioning’. Bolsover Financial Inclusion Project is being hailed as a good example of intelligent commissioning.
  • Established a new community led group to address financial exclusion in Bolsover
  • Provided seven training courses for 65 people.
  • Developed internal training capacity with three members of the team completing City & Guilds 7300 (Adult Learning).
2010/11 Quarter 1
The project encountered a delay commencing in 2009/10 due to recruitment difficulties.  However these issues have now been resolved and some really good progress has been made in Quarter 1.  In summary:
  • All staff (with the exception of the financial capability development worker) commenced in post
  • The first Financial Inclusion Forum was held on 8 June
  • A monthly e-newsletter commenced in May
  • Three new community outreach points in Whitwell, South Normanton and Carr Vale were established
  • 16 presentations held with a variety of groups
  • Junior Savings Club established at Brookfield School
  • A volunteer recruitment and training programme has been developed and is starting to be promoted
  • 226 new welfare benefit cases started with £78,800 recovered in additional benefits
  • 33 new clients with debt problems with debts totalling £590,955
  • 44 new loans arranged through the credit union
  • The delivery of basic bank accounts through credit union collection points has been agreed and supported by Barclays Bank.
  • Additional funding secured to contribute to the project in the region of £48,000
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