Getting a Fair Deal for Young People in Wales

Posted by Danielle Cope / Friday 22 July 2016 / Financial education
Fair deal Wales event- Bethan Jenkins AM address

Action for Children’s event  Getting a Fair Deal for Young People was hosted at the National Assembly for Wales. The event followed the Welsh Government’s recent publication of the refreshed Financial Inclusion Strategy, which will ensure that everyone in Wales can become financially capable.

Young people from Action for Children’s services in Wales were given the opportunity to highlight the difficulties they have faced with their finances and outline what the Welsh Government can do to help them manage their money better and stay out of debt.

Action for Children also took the opportunity to launch A Fair Deal for Young People in Wales, a qualitative report that considers the factors affecting vulnerability, the way these challenges affect a young person’s approach to money management and the solutions that the Welsh Government can take to end the negative cycle of problem debt and worry.

During the event, a Young Ambassador shared her story with an audience of politicians, civil servants, third sector and financial sector professionals. She detailed the trials she faced when escaping from domestic violence, her time at a women’s refuge, the debts that piled up when the benefits stopped and the 11p noodles she was forced to live on - all of which she faced while struggling to study for her A levels. 

Until she was introduced to her support worker at Action for Children, she sometimes went without hot water and heating and even paid for a TV licence when she didn’t watch TV.

“[My support worker] looked into my water bill. She found out they were charging me high rates. I was paying over £40 and she managed to reduce this to £15 - £20 because she asked them to fit in a water meter”. 

Our Young Ambassador praised her support worker, emphasising the trusting relationship that they had developed and the proactive and persistent support she was given to pay off her debts, even after her support had formally ended. After a series of ups and downs she went on to graduate from university with a 2.1 and secure her first job.

“[My support worker] really delivered on what she said she would do. She was so passionate about her job and I could see that she really wanted to help me. I trust her so much… I still keep in contact. Without her help I could not have achieved any of this. I know she will always be there for me. I am forever indebted to Action for Children.”

Action for Children’s A Fair Deal for Young People in Wales report is based on stories just like this. The report was produced in collaboration with the young people that use our services and the staff who support them. We found that young people want advice at ‘teachable moments’, like when they’re living independently for the first time or having a baby. But most importantly, like our Young Ambassador, they want this information from people they can trust.

To ensure that the Government follows up on the issues raised by our young people, we’re asking our supporters to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children at the Welsh Government and urge him to:

• Actively identify and target the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups so that the Financial Inclusion Strategy can effectively respond to their needs.

• Ensure provision of choice in access to financial services and financial advice, and equitable access to financial skills and education.

• Explore the role of practitioners in the delivery of financial education. Existing youth support services provide the key to success. They build on trusted relationships to provide advice at teachable moments.

• Establish collaboration between professionals and practitioners and between sectors to ensure consistent support for vulnerable young people.

• Adopt an outcomes-focused approach during the delivery stages of the strategy to ensure that it is most effective.

We need to ensure that young people are given the support they need to get out of debt and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty that these young people are trapped in.

Because money doesn’t make you happy. But knowing what to do with it can certainly help.

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