The UK will be hitting one of the deepest recessions the country has ever seen because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will have a huge impact on the lives of families who are already struggling and on the poverty line in London, with high levels of unemployment compounded by low levels of positive mental wellbeing. In an economic crisis such as this, we know that empowering women economically can lift entire families out of poverty. We know from the previous experience that women will be disproportionately impacted upon during an economic crisis because of the sectors which will suffer the most job losses (finance, retail and manufacturing).
This is reinforced by TUC 2011, which found an increase in net growth in women’s employment in low skilled and low paying sectors and documented a rise in the number of women on zero-hour contracts with no job security. During this economic crisis there is a need for BAME women to understand financial entitlements and support available, how to make changes to their daily spending, manage their income, and how to improve chances of employment through education to overall improve their financial wellbeing.
Henna users have expressed that they are not given equal opportunities to consider income growth due to educational barriers along with a lack access to sources that can help to improve their circumstances. Currently, Henna’s local area does not have any service provisions that provide guidance in this field, the local Citizen Advice Bureau has shut and not many services are accessible for this specific audience, given that some women also have language as a barrier. Henna’s research on changing communities resulted in integration having a positive effect on lifting restrictions on wider BAME communities. When women have access to education and careers it improves the income stream within many BAME households.
Aim for this project: is to improve the financial well-being of women from BAME and low-socioeconomic backgrounds.
Henna is seeking funding for an 18 months project that includes a variety of strategic processes to help Henna’s beneficiaries to understand income and spending. This project's approach is different due to the audience participating within it and the levels of learning tailored to users. Henna will accommodate for needs and assist in a range of languages to make sure the information has been fully understood. Henna will use an old Asian concept of community banking within this project to strategically make users take ownership. Henna’s successful track record on the delivery of its services has been the appointment of key relatable staff with the correct skills to ensure the project reaches its planned outcomes.
Henna will employ a Project Worker who will work at the local level providing personalised accessible training in partnership with specialist providers and support beneficiaries by coordinating the Money Bank meetings in addition to the enrolment with the Further Education service provider. The post will also be required to promote outreach, develop referral pathways and raise awareness around the services available alongside developing strong working partnerships with local organisations, educational institutions and community initiatives to deliver training and educational courses.
The project will be delivered through 2 compulsory weekly sessions for 6 months to 30 women (and then repeated again, to a new group of women, reaching at least 60 women). All women will undertake a pre-project assessment on their understanding and knowledge of income and their personal current spending. Session 1 covering topics on managing personal finances and understanding finances under the categories deemed as ‘income and spending’. These sessions will be delivered with a range of partners that include community law centres, specialist debt solicitors and Citizens Advice Bureau. In conjunction with this Henna will deliver through a partner Further Education College, who will deliver a Level 1 Health & Social course to prepare users for work. A poll with our users in December 2019 concluded this to be the most desirable sector of work.
Equipping low socioeconomic BAME women with an understanding and knowledge of income.
Equipping low socioeconomic BAME women with an educational course which will support progression into secure employment and improve income.
Observing a change in behaviour towards monthly spending to better manage income.
At the end of the project there will be a post-project assessment of understanding and knowledge of income and any changes to personal current spending. All women will also have completed a Level 1 Award in Health and Social Care, which will support career progression, in a sector of their choice. Another step towards improving financial wellbeing.
To evaluate whether the changes in behaviour and attitudes have been sustained there will be a 6 month follow – up. This will be an assessment through a series of questions over the phone about behaviours and attitudes towards income and spending since the end of the project.
The outcomes of this project will be disseminated to Camden Council, AGE UK and a range of public service provisions to meet the needs further for this audience and work towards providing accessible programmes that will in return provide support to these hard to reach participants.