LONDON (1/5/15)--A youth financial education pilot promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and credit unions is being funded by Her Majesty's Treasury, the Economic Secretary announced last week.
The nearly $230 million will support the archbishop's LifeSavers project, which aims to teach children good financial habits and set up in-school savings clubs with the help of credit unions, teachers, parents and community volunteers.
LifeSavers will begin in six church schools in southeast London, Bradford and Nottingham before expanding to 100 schools and more than 30,000 students over the next four years.
"A key part of our long-term economic plan is to secure peoples' financial futures. And at a time when young people are exposed to financial decisions earlier than ever, LifeSavers is a welcome initiative from the Church of England and the credit union movement. The project will help to tackle the root cause of money problems and develop good savings habits as early as possible," said Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrea Leadsom in a statement.
"Credit unions provide an invaluable service to a growing number of members, many of whom are on lower incomes, and make a real difference to their communities. The government wants to see British credit unions go from strength to strength, and I'm hoping the money we're announcing today is the kind of Christmas present the sector needs to ensure the next generation understand the benefits of saving with credit unions."
The financial support is driven in part by the Economic Secretary's recent report on 50 years of credit unions in Britain.
"It is great news that the government has announced this funding for the LifeSavers pilot program, enabling us to begin a program of establishing savings clubs at church schools across the country," said Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. "This project has the potential to help establish sensible, positive attitudes to money and the habit of saving in children and young people--habits we hope will stay with them for life."
In Scotland, the Scottish Financial Health Service website was launched in December. As part of the Lighten the Load campaign, the site provides financial literacy content, links to resources and a locator to find a credit union or adviser (The Edinburgh Reporter Jan. 2).
"Helping people get--and stay--on top of their finances is a key part of what credit unions are all about," said Frank McKillop, policy manager at the Association of British Credit Unions Limited Scotland. "We welcome this campaign, and hope that through Scotland's Financial Health Service, more people from all walks of life will turn to credit unions and take a responsible approach to saving, borrowing and budgeting."