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Community

Financial education cannot be seen in isolation from the rest of a child’s life and is influenced by everyone they come into contact with. Credit unions, churches, and other community organisations have an important role in supporting the work of teachers and parents, by extending children’s learning beyond the school gate and reinforcing messages about the good use of money. The success of LifeSavers’ whole community approach depends on the active involvement of all of these groups.

Credit unions

Giving children a real-life experience of handling their own money and saving with a local credit union is particularly valuable in developing good habits and practices from an early age. Credit unions are natural partners for schools, being local organisations run by and for the benefit of the local community.

LifeSavers builds on the experience of a number of successful local savings club schemes operated by credit unions across the country, and the success of our pilot scheme. We want to support more primary schools to set up their own savings club, by:

  • sharing best practice and learning from schools with active savings clubs
  • offering guidance and resources, such as our Savings Club Handbook
  • encouraging the involvement of volunteers from the wider community
  • helping to embed savings clubs as part of a whole school approach to financial education, alongside classroom learning and collective worship
  • reducing the administrative costs to credit unions through the development of an online school banking platform (coming Autumn 2017)
  • helping to raise awareness and active membership of credit unions through school and church networks

Many credit unions are keen to work with schools, but it is crucial that this is done in a way that is cost-effective and sustainable in the long-term, and that supports other core priorities. Here are some of the benefits envisaged by the credit unions we are working with:

  • parents and staff joining the credit union and saving/borrowing
  • junior savers staying on to become adult members of the credit union
  • more volunteers getting involved with the credit union through wider community engagement
  • positive local publicity for the credit union, making it more attractive to potential members
  • other benefits to the credit union from association with schools work, such as the motivation it gives to staff and volunteers
  • increased awareness and understanding of credit unions as an ethical, community-based finance provider

If your credit union is interested is starting up or expanding a local savings clubs scheme, then please get in touch to find out how we can support you.

Churches

Learning how to use money well, whether in avoiding crippling debt or being generous to those in need, is a crucial life-skill, especially in a culture which places such a premium on what we have and on what we can buy. Supporting financial education in schools is a great way for churches to serve their local community and build stronger links with schools, credit unions and other local organisations.

Helping children to develop a wise, generous, thankful, and just attitude to money is at the heart of the LifeSavers programme, and closely aligned with the broader mission and teachings of the Church. There are lots of ways that local churches can get involved:

  • talking to your local school about what, if any, financial education they offer and encouraging them to take part in LifeSavers
  • recruiting volunteers to help run a school savings club in partnership with a local credit union
  • delivering the Values for LifeSavers collective worship resources to help children explore the role of money in their lives
  • working with parents to help them learn about money as a family, supporting their children’s learning as well as developing their own financial capability
  • helping to raise awareness of the credit union within the church and wider community

If you are interested in finding out more about LifeSavers and how your church can help, then please get in touch.

“Getting involved in financial education in schools is not a distraction from the core business of the Church; it is an essential response to the words we say in the Lord’s Prayer, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven”

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, Bishop of Huddersfield and Chair of the LifeSavers Steering Group.

Read his blog about LifeSavers here