As the UK hits the largest recession on record, churches and community leaders help thousands facing financial difficulty

As the Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced today that the UK economy has entered a recession for the first time in 11 years, the Just Finance Foundation plans to expand their ‘COVID Cash Course’ training, and in turn support those made financially vulnerable in these challenging times. This is enabled with £100,000 funding from Allchurches Trust.

As various support schemes implemented by the government are phased out, 2.6 million people are currently on Universal Credit or Job Seekers Allowance.  

Through the support of Allchurches Trust a major expansion of Just Finance Foundation’s COVID Cash Course (CCC) will help churches to deliver financial information and support to those made vulnerable by low pay, insecure work, new unemployment and high personal debt, helping them to make optimal financial decisions at a critical point in their lives.

1,000 churches and community leaders will receive this vital training, and a further 10,000 vulnerable people will benefit, as a result, across the UK.

Delivered through a train-the-trainer model, the course allows those working or volunteering with the most vulnerable people in our communities to access information in plain language with which they can help those people navigate the rapidly changing financial world around them. 

From outlining individual entitlements such as Universal Credit and charitable grants, to areas such as financial stress and how to successfully budget for the next few months; CCC adopts a holistic approach to money management during this difficult period. 

So far, over 300 community leaders and organisations have already been trained to deliver a COVID Cash Course in their area. Feedback from those who have attended these courses has shown that although 80% of participants begin the course worried about their finances, 96% finish the course with a clear plan for the next few months and 74% agreed that their stress around money and finances was reduced following the course. 

Adeyinka Olushonde, a community worker in Liverpool, who has already rolled out COVID Cash Course, said: 

“Uptake for that first event was so successful that within just 24 hours of it being advertised, it was sold out – and so I have had to put on two more events in order to meet the rising demand.

“It is great that we have such enthusiasm for the course but, in another way, it is quite telling.  Liverpool was already a city with high levels of deprivation, and the lockdown has only exacerbated this extremely difficult situation for so many individuals and families.”

Tim Carroll, Chairman of Allchurches Trust, said: 

“Our own recent research with over 600 churches has told us that churches think financial advice and debt support will be one of the big issues facing their community in the next few months, and even more of a need in a year’s time, when the true impact of the Coronavirus pandemic will be clearer. 

“With this in mind, the COVID Cash Course will be invaluable, helping churches and other community organisations to respond to the needs of local people in a relevant and practical way, supporting the most vulnerable, who may not know where to turn at this challenging time.

“We are proud to support the COVID Cash Course Training, helping it to expand into four new areas and eventually beyond. It will give hope to many thousands of people by providing practical support to help them make the best decisions for themselves and their families in a rapidly changing financial landscape.”

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