Published date 20 September 2022

‘Follow the Money’ scheme fights cost-of-living crisis

(left to right) are Bella Washbourne (Clean Slate support worker), Emma Kernahan (head of programmes), Anna Dietrich (regional lead - West of England), Metro Mayor Dan Norris and Mark Milsom (course participant).

An £80,000 cash injection from the West of England Combined Authority's Community Support Fund is helping residents on lower incomes in Bath and North East Somerset to save money during the cost-of-living crisis and go on to get good jobs.

Launching this month, ‘Follow the Money’ will help over 70 local people save money and gain new skills to find work. Over the course of the free nine-week programme participants will take a unique ‘money health check’ to help them to create a money-saving action plan with simple, achievable steps to improve their finances. Also on offer are skills workshops to improve job prospects, paid work placements and training with organisations including Age UK Bath.

Course leaders expect participants who take the ‘money health check’ to save around £1,000 per year.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said it was important to back programmes like Follow the Money at a time when so many households are grappling with rocketing bills and prices. He said: “The cost-of-living crisis is biting harder than ever, and people are desperately worried about ever-rising bills, especially with the looming unprecedented energy price hike in October. I’m pleased to be able to give a helping hand to over 70 residents thanks to this £80,000 cash injection from the West of England Authority I lead.”

Bath-based Clean Slate will deliver the training courses. They are a not-for-profit organisation offering free training and paid employment to people facing barriers to work. Last month, they were recognised as one of the top 100 social enterprises in the country in the 2022 Natwest and Pioneers Post SE100 index.

Jeff Mitchell, Founder and Director of Clean Slate, said: "We are delighted to receive funding from the West of England Combined Authority which will be targeted towards people who have been hit hardest by the cost-of-living crisis. It’s great to see leadership that recognises the cost-of-living emergency facing people in the West of England right now. Many of us are worried about the bills that will land in the Autumn and our Clean Slate Support Workers are ready to guide people through a comprehensive money health check and 9 week 'Follow the Money' programme with the aim to make significant financial gains."

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