We’re back from the brink – but it’s not job done

Michelle Highman, Chief Executive of The Money Charity, explains the charity’s recent turnaround in fortunes

The last few months have been difficult for all of us at The Money Charity. We’d known for a while that we were running low on funds, but last month things came to a head and our board reluctantly took the decision to close us down.

When it was announced in February 2013 that financial education would, for the first time, be a part of the national curriculum in England, we certainly didn’t expect to be winding up two years later. In fact demand for our interactive workshops has gone through the roof since the curriculum came into force last September – so much so that we’ve had to turn some schools away.

But this has been against a backdrop of an almost complete lack of funding from central government or the Money Advice Service (MAS) for financial capability initiatives, whether in schools or for adults.

There’s a huge risk that people – from politicians to funders to schools – fall for the fallacy that because financial education is on the curriculum, there’s funding for it. There isn’t.

So we’ll keep working as part of the Youth Financial Capability Group (YFCG) to raise the profile of the financial education sector and co-ordinate our respective work.

Because without funding, a financial capability third sector won’t exist. This isn’t limited to us, and we hope our news will be a wake-up call to anyone who assumes that the provision of financial education is secure.

We were incredibly encouraged by the response to our impending closure from the financial services industry and the third sector – and absolutely delighted (if a little bowled over!) to be able to come to an agreement with our funders to continue for at least three more years.

That means we can continue to reach 30,000 students every year with our workshops, to publish The Money Statistics that give an authoritative overview of the UK personal finance landscape, and to develop our work with adults and the financial services industry to improve financial capability and consumer outcomes.

Our immediate priorities are:

  • Find a sponsor for our Student Money Manual, which reached over 500,000 students this year;
  • Increase funding for our schools workshops to make sure even more young people have the skills and confidence to manage their money; and
  • Step up our innovative work with adults, through training and digital tools, to help more people stay on top of their money.

If you’re able to help with or want to know more about any of these, please get in touch.

In the longer term, we’ll continue to make the case for sustainable, long-term funding for financial capability to government, MAS, and industry, and continue to do whatever we can to help people across the UK stay on top of their money.

Thank you for your support so far, and we look forward to working with you in the future.