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Activate Sport Gala for Physical Financial Education!



During the summer MyBnk teamed up with Activate Sport to develop and trial a new physical financial education project as part of our award-winning Money Twist programme. – the results have been amazing and exhausting!

The Annual Activate ‘Be Inspired’ Gala saw us pitching this exciting project to funders and supporters.


The plan:IMG_8701 Reversed

Using our joint expertise to build a new and exciting programme for Primary Schools that challenges, excites and informs young people. We will use the medium of sports, games and competitive challenges to carry key messages about spending, public finance and preparing for the future.

Hosts Amanda Davies, from CNN and Sky Sports Ed Chamberlin, Activate’s Director Luke Sutton and MyBnk’s Co-CEO Guy Ridgen showed our audience how such a project could work, make an impact on the lives of young people and why it was so needed.

Q&A’s with sports celebrities, an innovative Yellow or Red game (which MyBnk’s Co-CEO Lily Lapenna won!) and with an auction featuring items like Ronaldo and Messi’s signed jerseys – the pledges rolled in!

See our Flickr for more shots of the big night.

But, now we need your help….

Bringing things like tax, pensions and saving to life is MyBnk’s bread and butter and sport is a powerful educational tool, especially for hard to reach young people.

Just £12 will arm a young person with real life money skills that will enable them to take control of their finances and reduce the risk of debt and poverty.

Donating can make a direct and instant impact on the lives of young people across England. Find out how you can help build a financially literate and enterprise driven generation.

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MyBnk scoops Evidence Award!

MyBnk Deputy CEO Guy Rigden (l) and Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University John Raftery (r)


Proving the power of money lessons for young Londoners

MyBnk have won a major award for proving the positive impact of our financial education programmes on the lives of young people.

The Mayor of London and Metropolitan University initiative is London’s first children and youth evidence hub. Project Oracle examined our training and quality methods as well as independent assessments, concluding we are:

“…an exceptional youth sector organisation that demonstrates a direct benefit for young people’s employment and life chances”.

We also picked up £4,000 to help us further refine our sector leading Impact Centre.

Simultaneously at the Westminster Hub ceremony, MyBnk were certified as Standard 3, meaning we:

“Demonstrate through rigorous evaluation, that we are having a measurable effect on our most important outcomes: Financial Literacy”.

Impact chart

Standard 3 is:

A project that has undertaken evaluation that draws a consistent link between the project and the change in outcomes, indicating that the project has caused the observed changes. The project also has procedures in place to increase the likelihood of it being implemented in the future in ways faithful to its design.

Workshops are led by teachers, youth workers and people who have worked in the financial sector. Last year the charity’s education officers were rated excellent by 99% of young people and 96% of teachers.

standard_3_2014_medium (1)Professor Georgie Parry Crooke, Director, Project Oracle said:

“Providing financial education to 11 to 25 year olds, MyBnk submitted a systematic evaluation using a mix of methods, with control groups that demonstrated direct benefit to young people’s employment and life chances”.

Lily Lapenna, CEO said:

“This award is a recognition that expert-led financial education is helping thousands of young people manage their money. It also confirms our methodology of putting young people at the heart of designing their own services, works.

It comes at a crutial time, after years of campaigning, financial education is in the national curriculum, but we want to ensure quality and high impact from the limited amount of time available. Only this way can we forge a financially literate and enterprise driven generation, free from debt and the Bank of Mum and Dad”.

Find out more on our Impact & Independent Assessment as well as our awards.

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Why would a young person want to be a banker?


Trust, suspicion and er, naffness! Studies have shown that young people just don’t like banks. Why then, would a 13-year-old ever want to be a banker or work in financial services?

Well, we asked them and the response knocked our socks off. MyBnk-in-a-Box is our flagship financial education programme for schools where we train pupils to run their very own in-house online saving and lending scheme for their peers. Our Education Officers and teachers act as mentors and the ‘MyBnkers’ run savings and enterprise competitions with real money, real loans and real profits.

Last year these bankers were savers, and it’s interesting how often words like ‘legacy’ appear and that they ‘want to help people save, want to learn about banking and want to be better with money’.

Here is what a bunch of the forty-odd applicants from Walthamstow School for Girls had to say (click to enlarge):



Hannah MarthaEylsia malikaZainabNicolaBellaAmana


























































































































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Activate Sport Gala – Help bring physical financial education to young people


IMG_8701 Reversed

Can you tell what it is yet?

This summer MyBnk teamed up with Activate Sport to develop and trial a new physical financial education project as part of our award-winning Money Twist programme.

Bringing things like tax, pensions and saving to life is MyBnk’s bread and butter and sport is a powerful educational tool, especially for hard to reach young people. So, with help from our Youth Advisory Panel, we took things out of the classroom and into the fields as part of our National Citizens Service delivery – the results have been amazing and exhausting!

Now, we need your help. All monies from this year’s Activate Sport Gala Dinner will go to frontline pilots in Primary Schools. Fancy rubbing shoulders with celeb sports stars, have a slap up meal and make a difference?

Contact for more info:

Activate Sport Gala Dinner Invitation Larger-1 copyActivate Sport Gala Dinner Invitation Larger-2



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Freshers Week: Our Uni Regrets


IMG_5314At MyBnk we share our our money mistakes with young people to deliver authentic, better and impactful financial education programmes.

Freshers Week is always busy for our Education Officers and we are sharpening Sixth Formers minds in schools across the country. Now, for you, here are some of the lessons we learnt the hard way at university, how we got help and what we would never do again!

 MyBnk are also taking part in Student Bean’s Fresher Festival, see here for more. 


DSC_0031smallHannah, Education Officer

What did you learn the hard way?
That everything I borrowed had an APR attached! This was never explained to me and I didn’t really understand what it meant at the time. ‘Free’ money is never as free as you think!

Where did you get help?
I completely buried my head in the sand, I ignored the fact I was behind with bills or had an overdraft and didn’t see it as a massive issue at the time. I borrowed a lot from friends to go on Holiday or got store cards to buy clothes; Things that at the time I deemed ‘Essential’.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Prioritize and budget! Two simple things that I didn’t introduce into my life until it was almost too late. Question if you really do NEED something and if you do, can you get it cheaper? Buy and sell on eBay and take advantage of student discounts as much as you can. You don’t want debt and being broke to cloud the fun you can have in your uni years!


Graham, Money Advice Service StaffSONY DSC

What did you learn the hard way?
Went a bit bonkers in my first term and don’t think I had a night in for about a month! Not only did this hit my bank balance but it also impacted my waistline! Also signed up the gym and number of societies, but ended up going to the gym twice (to use the sauna!) and paid £40 to join the badminton club, which I never used!

Where did you get help?
Fortunate that I was able to go to the Bank of Mum and Dad, who bailed me out on a couple of occasions whilst I was waiting for my loan to be paid in!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Setup a standing order from a separate account and pay yourself a weekly allowance. This will give you a clearer guide on how much you are spending on a daily basis.


DSC_0964Tope, Education Officer

What did you learn the hard way?
Banks are not as friendly as you think. They have their own agendas.

Where did you get help?
I didn’t get any help I just put my head in the sand and wished it away.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Don’t use money that you didn’t create or put there.


Ben, Education TrainerDSC_0086

What did you learn the hard way?
How to prioritise my needs and wants. Moving away from home where I had relied on my parents to pay for things like rent, bills and internet, I failed to realise that I was now responsible to pay them myself. Instead of reassessing my needs I continued to spend money on going out with friends, buying new clothes and heading out on a daily basis to cafes and restaurants, forgetting about the important costs like rent and bills. As a result I had to borrow a lot of money from different sources to pay off my new ‘needs’. Ten years later I am still paying off those debts.

Where did you get help?
I spoke to my parents, family and friends and was very open about my financial challenges. I didn’t take everyone’s advice but took little bits from each person and worked out the best strategy for me. In the second year I set out a clear plan of my income and expenditure to ensure I stayed on top of things.

One piece of advice?
Assess your needs and wants and make a budget. It only takes a few minutes a week but it helped me save a lot of money for fun things like holidays and music festivals. I made sure I had enough to cover my needs and split the rest between saving and enjoying a few luxuries.


DSC_0034smallKirsty, Education Co-ordinator

What did you learn the hard way?
Student overdrafts are for life not just for that one time you needed £1,000 for a deposit on student accommodation. You won’t be able to pay off your student overdraft unless you actually have an income…unemployed students don’t have an income.

Where did you get help?
Money Savings expert website.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Overdrafts are the devil…not awesome magical free money (although don’t worry too much because your bank will make a clerical error in the future and you’ll get your free overdraft for an extra year before they realise they never charged you and will give you another 6 months free overdraft as an apology for not charging you…WIN!!!) Also don’t lose sleep over money now, it gets much worse in the future…then you’ll know what money problems really are.


Emma, VolunteerDSC_0750

What did you learn the hard way?
You can’t just put in more hours and get paid more student loan – if you don’t spend what you get wisely you end up stuck. Money worry is one of the worst kinds of worry and affects how you feel about everything else. Asking people to lend you money is horrible.

Where did you get help?
My aunt once loaned me money to last me the month. It’s too awful having to tell your parents that you’ve been frivolous with the allowance they give you.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
If possible, don’t get an overdraft – you can kid yourself it’s just there for emergencies but it never seems to work out that way.


DSC_0788Jessie, Income

What did you learn the hard way?
How easy it is to spend money. Debit cards or cash, I just couldn’t keep track of what I was spending. Plus I suffer from severe F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) so I wanted to do everything that I could, whatever it cost.

Where did you get help?
I pretty much lived in denial for three years. It didn’t feel like my money so I didn’t worry too much. I ran out of money a few times and was lucky that my parents would bail me out tilt the end of term. But I had a holiday job and would always have to pay them back. That of course left me short for the next term – sort of like a first pay day loan cycle!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Learn to socialise outside of the pub. Two or three nights a week, do something that doesn’t involve drinking or eating out!


Zarita, IncomeP1030139

What did you learn the hard way?
I got caught out by going into my overdraft. I had quit my student job a couple of months before to focus on my dissertation, but I hadn’t adjusted my spending habits (d’oh).

Where did you get help?
I had to ask my dad for the money (I paid him back when I got a job) and discussed the situation with my bank adviser immediately. He gave me a really good tip to keep an accountant’s spike and keep my receipts so I could figure out how much I was spending on day to day expenses – it all adds up. I still use this method.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
What I’d tell myself (and this also applied when I started working/got a pay rise), just because you have money doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. If I’d reduced my spending and/or saved some of my money from my student job, I wouldn’t have got into my overdraft. Saving money helps you prepare for a rainy day, such as when your basement floods or you are made redundant (both of which I’ve experienced).

ALSO – My dad maintains that I owe him money from my uni days, but is refusing to take any. The lesson there: never borrow money from family for poor money management – you will never hear the end of it!


DSCF2032Hannah K, Education Trainer

What did you learn the hard way?
It’s ok to say that you can’t afford something- people won’t think any less of you. Lots of my uni friends came from wealthier backgrounds than me and I was initially embarrassed about telling them that I didn’t have as much money to go out. It turned out that no-one minded and everyone was happy to have cheap nights in every now and again.

Where did you get help?
An older student kindly helped me get a waitress job on campus. I got paid £7 an hour and got a free dinner.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Don’t take your debit card out clubbing. Leave it at home and take cash.

If you would like MyBnk’s experts to come to your school or youth group, visit and request a session.

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Keep Me Posted – Young people want paper bills & statements


DSC00971A new study by the Keep Me Posted campaign has shown nearly half of 15-24 year olds prefer to view their bank statements on paper.

MyBnk finds many of young people’s financial difficulties stem from a lack of understanding or an assumption of knowledge. Taking away paper bills and statements only adds to that confusion. This is especially true of the vulnerable young people we work with, many of whom lack access to digital services and are already financial excluded.

Young people want choice just as any consumer and these findings echo a lot of what we hear in classrooms and youth groups every day: “with a physical format I know exactly where I stand; I can plan my next steps and effectively manage my money’.

The assumption that because young people are digitally savvy they do not want or need paper bills and statements has been shown to be a myth – it gives them a sense of control and is very important in the early stages of money management . It is how they learn and gain confidence to perhaps use different ways of organising their finances in the future.

Nearly half of 16-25 year olds name debt as their biggest fear, so anything that can help them keep on top of their money, and prevent them falling into that trap helps us in our mission for effective financial education.

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Welcome to another jam packed academic year!


DSC_0026MyBnk would like to welcome back teachers, young people and youth workers joining us for a very exciting new academic year.

Financial education has burst into the National Curriculum for the very first time, we have revamped programmes, fresh free resources, a burgeoning Impact Centre, a Teachers Advisory Panel, new microfinance schemes and ambitious plans for the next 12 months.

This year we are aiming to reach over 40,000 young people, 20% more than 2013/14 and start new delivery projects via Comic Relief and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. We are also expanding our work in the Cornwall and Plymouth areas, contact

Programmes & National Curriculum

money twist stricker logoMyBnk’s suite of programmes are updated on a regular basis so that what we deliver in and out the classroom is fresh and accurate. This summer we tightened our existing mapping to the new National Curriculum requirements in Citizenship and Maths, added new activities around consumer choice, created new budgeting videos and piloted a physical financial education project with Activate Sport and the National Citizens Service.

We also have a number of funded sessions available – get in touch for more:

ProgrammesNational Curriculum

Free financial education resources

Fresh on our website, the TES and Guardian Teachers Network you will find our new budgeting videos of young people facing financial problems. Young people then have to help the individuals achieve their goals by deciding what spending to cut or by providing alternatives. Each series carries slideshow quizzes, PDF activity sheets and lesson plans.

Next up we have vox pops asking young people ‘Why do you save?’ This video can be used as a starter for a discussion with Primary School students about the benefits of savings or general financial education. Both resources are slices of MyBnk’s Money Twist Key Stage 3 & 4/5 programmes.

Teachers Advisory Panel

We have formed an expert panel of teachers and providers from across the sector to share best practice and exchange ideas on what works in the classroom regarding financial education. Interested?

Our next meeting will be held at MyBnk HQ, 6-8pm, 12th November, 2014, Unit 4 Huguenot Place, Heneage Street, London E1 5LN. RSVP with Eventbrite. - Event Flyer.

For further information or to suggest agenda items, contact


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£200 profits for young entrepreneurs in Business Battle!

Young creative entrepreneurs have doubled their dough in their first ever enterprise experience at East Street Market.

The 9-13 year olds from IntoUniversity were given micro-loans of over £100 and just four days to bring their money making ideas to market and they doubled their dough.

Customers cleared the traders out of their handmade mugs and confectionery in just a few hours making 100% profit on their loans.

Education charity MyBnk trained them in everything from product development and writing a business plan to customer service.

The traditional routes to employment are changing and projects like Business Battle provide that critical first step to young people becoming their own boss.


MyBnk offers financial education and enterprise experiences to secondary schools and youth groups and are also part of the new £1m Big Lottery, Lambeth FACE (Financial Advice and Confidence Education) project.

It has helped me prepare for the future and being a successful business woman.It has helped me to realise that no-one becomes successful on their own” Rachel Daramola, 11.

“I learned lots about marketing. It was very good and it helped us to now how it feels to run a mini business! Justin Engmann, 13.

“If ever young people needed an entrepreneurial attitude to life it is now. We have 9-year-olds writing business plans and teenagers budgeting! With us, young people learn key life skills by doing it for real”Lily Lapenna, MyBnk CEO

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Movin’ on up! Triple celebrations for financial education backers


3 peeps

A huge congratulations to two of our patrons and another long-term backer of MyBnk’s financial education and enterprise mission.

Michael Norton, who also helped create MyBnk and the founder of the Directory of Social Change was recently honoured with the Outstanding Achievement Award at The Charity Awards.

In his acceptance speech he said: “we need to be offering more people more chances and more trigger points and encouraging them to engage with a an active society”.

Continuing the good news was patron Noel Gordon’s appointment as a Non-Executive Director, NHS-England.

And to round off an amazing summer session, financial education warrior Martin Lewis was made an OBE for services to consumer rights in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

High AER’s, low APR’s all round!

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PISA – Does the worldwide test for financial literacy measure up?


DSC_0026This year, we were presented with the most rigorous, in-depth, comprehensive and international survey of worldwide financial skills ever seen: The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report into Financial Literacy Skills for the 21st C, Students and Money.

Back in 2012 PISA tested 29,000 15 and 16 year olds in 18 countries who sat a two hour test comprising four papers.  PISA ranked students in five levels of proficiency from basic to advanced. Scores for each country’s students were aggregated with a mean of 500. Top-score was Shanghai (603) and lowest Colombia (377).

Despite the UK not taking part, we are enthusiastic and supportive of the objectives of the PISA tests and the need for internationally comparable assessments to support policy choices, implementation and evaluation. However, the financial education test itself and its parameters are not above reproach.

We interpret PISA tests as not testing as stated, the likely ‘readiness of 15-year-old students for life beyond compulsory education and their capacity to use knowledge and skills’. PISA defines financial literacy as:

“A combination of awareness, knowledge, skill, attitude and behaviour necessary to make sound financial decisions and ultimately achieve individual financial well-being’

But the sample questions provided focuses on ‘skills’ and to a lesser extent ‘knowledge’. It does not sufficiently address ‘awareness, attitude and behaviour’. It is not surprising that mathematics are the most significant drivers of performance in the PISA tests.

For example consider one of the sample questions:

pisa pic

To receive a Full Credit (level 5 advanced capability) requires an answer that simply states Mrs Jones will have extra money and she will pay a lower interest rate. In the explanatory notes it is stated the student has all the information needed to assess the options. Many would disagree with this premise. Does the student possess all the relevant information to demonstrate financial literacy as defined above? What they do have is the information necessary to make a mathematical calculation and require the knowledge to understand what the words and symbols for interest, loan and monthly payment mean.

For PISA’s test to hold water, a full credit answer should include more information. What are the terms of the loans? Is the interest simple or compounded and how often is the principal adjusted? Are there set-up charges; early repayment options or penalties; does the loan require security or a guarantor?’ Financial literacy, may be better expressed as capability, includes the knowledge and confidence to ask these kinds of questions and the skills to interpret the answers. It is not just the maths and even that is incomplete without further information.*

A secondary concern is how results have been reported and how each community may use and interpret them. Headlines like: ‘Top of the Class Shanghai’ and ‘bottom of the class Colombia’ is not entirely useful. There is not a lot of difference between countries – 16 of the top 18 score in a range 466 to 541 or less than one PISA level (75 points) difference from the mean.

pisa ft picRecently the Financial Times featured a chart derived from PISA comparing hours of financial education versus scores by country. Many of us in the financial education sector strongly question any conclusion that financial education is ineffective based on this relationship.

Relevance and quality must be considered and indeed PISA shows the direct use of financial products is mildly correlated with performance. Like PISA we are concerned that many who deliver financial education are not skilled in doing so. MyBnk ensures all instructors are trained and tested in the relevant financial knowledge of the cohort they are working with. Furthermore, trainers are selected because they can actively engage with young people and are trained to bring the subject matter to life.

The need for financial capability has been universally accepted by civil society and policy makers. In England this September 2014, financial education becomes compulsory on the National Curriculum and the Money Advice Service (MAS) is currently preparing a UK Financial Capability Strategy. How financial capability is best achieved and measured are today’s questions. PISA is a substantial report which provides test-based, comparable scores which complement the vast majority of ‘self-assessed’ evaluations currently available. Like others, we will embrace some of the methodology particularly in maths and consider the conclusions of other points. We expect providers and policy makers to do likewise.

The UK’s provisional agreement to participate in PISA’s 2015 tests presents an opportunity to further our understanding on the effectiveness of financial education – however, the current model will not offer a full and true picture of the financial literacy landscape and its impact on the lives of young people.

Our objective of a financially literate and enterprise-driven generation includes the need to develop ‘attitudes and behaviours’ as well as utilise maths and literacy. Engaging young people with all facets of quality financial education is key to achieving that.

*In relation to PISA question: We can calculate the loan principal is (at best) adjusted annually Mrs Joans still owes 7400 zeds at year end. A more real-life example would adjust the principal monthly and 15% simple interest would equate to 14.5% of the initial loan. This matters as the loan would be paid off in seven years five months rather than eight years seven months.  The worst case scenario is the principal is not adjusted through the loan period in which case it would take more than twelve years to pay off.

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