Millions available for Stevenage’s ‘financially excluded’

A town’s voluntary groups are being offered up to a �1m to help vulnerable residents get a grip on their finances.

Third sector organisations in Stevenage are being offered cash from the Big Lottery Fund to help individuals and families in social housing become financially competent and avoid getting into difficulties.

The town is one of 69 local authorities chosen for the �30m Improving Financial Confidence programme based on government research into the most financially excluded residents in the UK.

Voluntary groups in partnership with the borough council and a housing association can apply for grants of between �500,000 and �1m to help carry out three to five year projects. Money will be given to those schemes focussed on tenants who are in and out of work, young people and those in their first 12 months of tenancy.

Sara Betsworth, regional head of the Big Lottery Fund, said current economic stresses have highlighted the divide between those who have access to a range of financial products, services and good quality advice, and those who do not.

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“Many people are unable to access or use basic financial services and products such as bank accounts, contents insurance, credit cards or affordable loans and instead fall into a trap of using high cost doorstep lenders, getting themselves into a debt spiral.

“This can make it difficult for people to manage their money, cope with financial pressures and plan for the future. It can also mean that everyday things such as household bills become more expensive.

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“With this programme, BIG aims to help people living in social housing accommodation in the Stevenage area to overcome these issues by giving them skills and confidence to choose, access and use financial services suitable to their individual needs.”

The fund will accept applications from organisations until September 16. Go to for details.

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