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MyBnk wins Leaving Care Award!

CYPN Awards 2015-137 Winner 15

MyBnk’s survival money management programme, Money Works, has won the Leaving Care Award from the leading sector magazine, Children & Young People Now.

We were recognised as providing the UK initiative that has done the most to help young people leaving the care system make a smooth and successful transition to adulthood by supporting their accommodation, health, housing, and training and employment needs.

MyBnk was also commended for providing a project where young people have played a key role in planning their independent living – our Youth Advisory Panel.

A huge thanks to our funders who have supported us in delivering this amazing project to 13 Leaving Care Units across London and charities like Banardos and the Who Cares Trust.


Launched in 2008, Money Works is our intervention style survival money management programme consisting of four workshops: Banking, Budgeting, and Borrowing.

In small groups of 6-15 we use interactive activities, debates and story sharing to empower young adults to confront their worries and bad habits around money – ultimately breaking down the barriers to independent living and supporting those trapped in debt or struggling with costs. Young people translate this into actions – steps they can take to gain control of their money, and ultimately improve their financial situation, ensuring that finance is not a barrier to their aspirations.

Money Works sessions also act as a forum for questions/discussion. Clearing up money misconceptions, exploring money issues affecting them, and getting information they have been unable to obtain.

To request a funded session for your young people, visit our programmes page.

See more on how we help vulnerable young people, like those in care.

Photo: MyBnk Education Project Manager, Aisling Cohn (c).


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Guest blog – What are financial services to a teenager?


A view from the world of financial services as Old Mutual Wealth Intern Bertie Cook, 20, puts forward his theories to why some teenagers are today so disengaged with something they will definitely be engaged with, tomorrow.

bank boxedMoney? Dough? Coin? Dosh? Moolah? Teenagers might know the 50 words for money but most don’t have a clue what financial services are and what they offer. Why should they?

Not many teenagers I know are aware of the importance of the financial services industry, yet come later life our finances dictate what we can and can’t do. I am rapidly approaching my 21st birthday and still a little unsure if I even get the gist of financial services. Yet I find myself as an intern working in the industry. However, I am a little daunted by the fact that not every teenager will get an opportunity to get to grips with the world of financial services at first hand.

So….why is the average youth so unaware of what financial services have to offer?

In my opinion, it boils down to how we consume news and other media. Financial services are not geared towards the younger generations, it does not talk to them and if it did, it’s in a language few would understand. Financial news contains elaborate data and eloquent phrases yet complex language that acts as a barrier. Trying to understand what’s being said is the hardest part, let alone retaining the information. Teens need short, sharp and easily digestible information. Not a £13.50 weekly subscription to the FT or a two page long article on mortgages in Money Management.


What next? How can you get young adults captivated in news based on the financial services industry?

The way MyBnk brings money and enterprise to life is a case in point. I think that information and news regarding the industry has to become more accessible and relevant to younger generations. Regardless of access to financial education, teenagers are in serious danger of going into adulthood blind to the basic ins and outs of the financial services industry and the important role it plays in their lives. We need to communicate in their eco-system, apps, interactive web pages and social media – not by bombarding young people with sales and products, but providing information and clarity about the world of finance.

Surely someone in the industry must see the sustainability argument. The likelihood is our generation will not have a clue what to do with their money and make bad choices. I think it would be a safe bet to say that the majority of teenagers would go straight to the internet. Technology is our strong point; it’s what young people have faith in. Yet many companies that operate in financial services don’t have a massive online presence. A recent survey by the IAB revealed that 24% of the top spending 50 finance brands in the UK are yet to develop a mobile strategy.

I understand that from a business point of view teenagers are not where the money is at, but it is where the future lies! Investing time and knowledge into youngsters, in time, will pay off BIG.

Bertie CookBertie Cook is now studying Business Management as an Erasmus student at La Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, from Cardiff University. 

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Pupils save over £100 in new school bank!


Ws4g3Students at Walthamstow School for Girls have thrown open the doors of their very own bank.

11-14 year olds have been trained by MyBnk to get fellow pupils into good financial habits by offering accounts and loans of up to £40. Using real money, their MyBnk-in-a-Box scheme opens once a week at lunchtime and is also accessible online.

“I opened an account today with £2 and I think it’s important to save so you don’t have to worry about your parents spending all of their money on you! I would like to buy things for myself and be independent”. Amy 12, young saver.

Ws4g2Also opening accounts on launch day were the Mayor of Waltham Forest, Saima Mahmud and our patron, broadcaster and campaigner, June Sarpong. Scores of young people deposited over £100 in a single lunch break.

The young bankers now will also run incentivised saving and enterprise start-up drives for their fellow pupils. This is backed up with financial education workshops covering everything from tax and pensions to student finance, supported by Prudential.

“At WSFG we believe that our girls should understand how banks work and understand how to manage their personal finances. We try to build in transferable and lifelong skills that they will use in their everyday lives, as well as ensuring that they achieve the very best academic achievements they can”. Marianna Philippou, Maths teacher, Walthamstow School for Girls.


Ws4gSoon, Walthamstow will be joined by another London school bank, run by young people for young people. Savers bank on average £3.64 a week, 59% of their pocket money, an adult would bank £295 a week on an a £26,000 salary!

“The sooner young people are familiar with banking, the better they can develop sound financial habits like saving and navigate the system. We’re going all out for a generation that will have to make smarter financial decisions and create their own opportunities”. MyBnk CEO & Founder Lily Lapenna.

If you are interested in running the MyBnk-in-a-Box financial education programme in your school, get in touch via or 0207 377 8770!

financial education

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The power of enterprise education!


New Directions2

Students from a London Pupil Referral Unit have raised over £200 for a fellow pupil’s hospital costs after a MyBnk enterprise education challenge.

Jamel Stevens* has been hospitalised with a serious chest infection since earlier this year and his family were struggling to afford the travel expenses to be with him in a specialist unit in Cambridge.

In one week, 10 young people from New Directions from the went from drawing board to Queens Market, Newham, using interest free micro loans. They made their own designer jams and sauces and are now taking orders on their website.

Our Education Officers taught them how to design and sell products, write business plans, give sales pitches and budget.

The Mind Your Own Business project, supported by Blackstone Charitable Foundation, is helping hundreds of disadvantaged young people in London’s poorest boroughs.

MyBnk CO-CEO Lily Lappena said: “This is the power of enterprise! Young people not only learnt vital employability and soft skills, they used their new business smarts to help a friend. Projects like ours are a key first step in young people being their own boss.”

Kelvin, Teaching Assistant, New Directions Pru said: ”These students have done themselves proud. They had a purpose, a goal and they all worked onwards it with discipline, more so than in other classes. This experience will help them be more confident, improve their job prospects and become entrepreneurs. I can’t thank MyBnk enough for bringing their workshops to our young people”.

* Not real name.

enterprise education

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Financial education: one year on…



What has been the impact of compulsory money lessons for 11-16 year olds in English schools?

For an academic year now, students have been learning how to budget and understand tax and pensions through Citizenship and Maths classes.

But, is it working? What are students learning? After the government decided personal finance would not be tested, there has been a risk of financial education’s introduction being seen as tokenistic.

Fear not!

MyBnk has crunched the 2014/15 data and can show a surge in young people’s financial capability and the impact of expert-led money lessons. After our sessions with tens of thousands of young people in hundreds of UK schools, collecting 100,000s of pieces of data, we found:

  • Budgeting: 58% jump in those planning to budget.
  • Confidence: 86% feel confident making informed financial decisions. +29%.
  • Scams: 90% know security features of money +36%.
  • Banks: 44% increase in ability to use a bank.
  • Maximising money:  91% can use budgeting to make effective use of money.
  • Risk: 87% can identify risks of financial decisions +23%.
  • Rights: 89% know their employment rights like minimum wage, tax and hours +38%.
  • Jargon: 81% feel confident understanding banking terms +41%.
  • Ethics: +44% will ask for bank’s ethical policy.
  • Macroeconomics: 47% increase in understanding how money flows through the financial system.
  • Teachers: 71% recommend us to other schools. Our Net Promoter Score is 67, that’s as high as Apple!

However, we are just scratching the surface and the need is ever present as UK Personal debt edges £1.5 trillion, the cost of living along with youth and graduate unemployment remain stubbornly high and the Bank of Mum and Dad stays under huge pressure with young people struggling to afford independent living.

In addition, 50% of 11-18 year olds are potentially missing out as Academies and Free schools can opt out of the National Curriculum. Sixth Forms do not have to teach money skills.

borderedThoughts from our our Founder & Co-CEO Lily Lapenna, on year one.

“At face value, it has been a success! Awareness is up and more young people than ever are learning about money. The argument that we need to give students the skills to manage money has been won.

On the other hand, exactly what they are learning and how, varies widely across schools. Concerns around quality and tokenism are abound. The Money Advice Service’s Evidence Hub rated online resources for teachers and financial service schemes lower than our face-to-face independent expert-led provision. Ofqual also decided that only government finance will be GCSE tested – meaning young people’s knowledge on things like budgeting, risk, and interest rates remain unmeasured.

Ironically, since money lessons were made compulsory, the sector has had to turn away many schools as demand for our programmes soared. Trusts, foundations and CSR Units are reluctant to fund something that is even marginally statutory, meaning young people and teachers miss out on what works.

The time has come to properly fund effective financial education for young people in schools”. 

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Riding high! Pru cyclists raise thousands for MyBnk




Seven cycle warriors raised nearly £9,000 at Prudential Ride London to help us arm young people with money skills.

This means 750 young people will now receive expert-led financial education workshops to learn how to budget, save and avoid debt.

A huge thanks to all who sponsored our brave volunteers in their 100 mile challenge. See our dedicated Flickr album, here.

There is still time to donate! Just £12 puts a young person through one of our award winning programmes.

Also, register your interest for Pru Ride 2016.


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House of Lords Summer Showcase!



Young people, funders and supporters gathered at the House of Lords this month for the MyBnk Summer Showcase – celebrating the power of our financial education and enterprise programmes!

On the banks of the River Thames, we heard stories from the frontline of poverty prevention and enterprise. There was also a loud call to build on the success of getting money skills onto the national curriculum by raising quality and standards.

We welcomed our new MyBnk Patron, broadcaster and campaigner June Sarpong, who shared her experiences of struggling with money growing up in East London. Doug Wills, Managing Editor of the Evening Standard Ltd. explained how MyBnk was championing the same spirit as his newspaper’s literacy and social enterprise campaigns, and our sponsors MVision laid out the sustainability argument on the need for what we do. Syed Kamall MEP also brought the political take on the MyBnk mission – even shooting an impromptu video with June and our Founder & Co-CEO Lily Lapenna!


The Impact


Young people from Ealing Leaving Care, Havering College, Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls, and Collage Arts told us how they gained new skills and confidence from our workshops.

“MyBnk taught us how to communicate and conflict resolution. Young people need this experience”.

Henrique, Havering College – Made £150 in profits from selling customised cakes and brownies in Romford Market – Mind Your own Business, supported by Blackstone.

“I thought I could budget, I left care and my savings disappeared. MyBnk taught me how to look after my money – they got us where we needed to go”.

Adriana, Ealing Leaving Care – Learnt how to budget and live independently – Money Works. A programme supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.


The Need

bordered3Backers of our vital work shared their insights on the need for young people to learn money and business skills in an age of the global race.

“Education is key, what MyBnk does is amazing, giving the most financially vulnerable in our society the skills to live independently and achieve their dreams.” June Sarpong, MyBnk Patron.

“For a young person, learning how to manage money is as important as learning how to cross the road.” Charles Beazley, MVision.

“You’re providing a life raft for young people.” Doug Wills, Evening Standard Ltd.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped make this a special day as we continue our journey to give young people the skills, knowledge and confidence to manage their money and lead enterprising lives!



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MyBnk Co-CEO Appointed to MAS Financial Capability Board



MyBnk are delighted to announce our Founder & Co-CEO’s appointment to the Money Advice Service’s Financial Capability Board.

The level of financial capability in the UK is low. Half of people aged 25-64 say they find it a struggle to keep up with bills and 2/3 of working age people don’t have enough savings to cover one month’s income.

Lily will be working alongside representatives from financial services and other education providers to help shape the Children and Young People strand of the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK. As well as ensuring the voices of young people and young adults are heard, she will continue to make the case for effective financial education, the need to measure its impact and increase its reach.

The benefits of money advice leading up to 2060 were laid out in the Thoresen Report and would reap over £15 billion worth of benefit for consumers and £4 billion for the financial services industry.

If we’re going to improve financial capability, we need to work together. That’s why the strategy is based on collective impact, where we have a common vision for what we’re trying to achieve, and we collaborate collectively to achieve it.

We look forward to working with the entire sector to help young people gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to manage their money and lead independent lives.

Earlier this year, the strategy’s Evidence Hub gave MyBnk the UK’s highest rating of any money skills programme for young people.

Money advice service board

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The UK’s youngest bankers win big!




One of our school banks has been Highly Commended by the Community Education Awards.

A dozen Year 8s at Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls have been running their own in-school and online saving and lending project for fellow pupils thanks to the charity MyBnk. Hundreds of students have opened accounts and deposit on average more half their weekly pocket money.

Mount Carmel certThe MyBnk-in-a-Box project, which opens every lunchtime and now in its 6th year, is backed up with hands on workshops on banking, borrowing and taxation and enterprise challenges.

Financial education only recently became part of the National Curriculum. The Money Advice Service recently found that MyBnk is delivering the UK’s highest rated money skills for young people.

Community Education Awards Ambassador, Esther Rantzen DBE said:

“I have been astounded by the effort, commitment and the quality of this project as well as the dedication and brilliance of the individuals”.

MyBnk Founder & CEO, Lily Lapenna said:

“We are so proud of these girls! They have volunteered their own time to help fellow pupils learn how to save and borrow responsibly. Across the UK, young people and the Bank of Mum and Dad are crying out for money skills to be taught properly in schools – we want to bring more quality and fun programmes to classrooms and help teachers keep children out of debt”.

Nicole Haynes, Principal, Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls:

“MyBnk-in-a-Box is an inspirational initiative. Our students have developed the knowledge and skills related to a plethora of financial issues: i.e. global financial instability, the credit crunch, banking, risk and debt. Our girls are already well ahead of the curve in understanding how money works and how it effects them”.

Young saver Amy 13:

“Saving is really important. At the moment I just spend and spend and I never have money for the things I need. I will open my account with £1.50 and I’ll be putting in £2 every week!”

IMG_8787 - Copy (800x562)

financial education award


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Student wins big bucks in Global Money Week competition!


A MyBnk participant bagged a cool £100 to kick start his savings after winning a financial education competition.

Wimbledon College pupil Richard Appiah, 12, beat 1,000 entrants in the Demotivator poster contest as part of the Global Money Week awareness campaign with the Institute of Charted Accountants of England and Wales.

During a Money Twist programme, our expert Education Officers taught Richard and his class how to budget, bank and borrow and understand the difference between wants and needs in interactive workshops that build good habits, like saving. Richard discovered he was spending big money on Haribos and made a savings pledge to cut back, designing a poster that scooped top prize!

During Global Money Week, through competitions, special events and free resources, MyBnk armed 8,000 11-25 year olds with key life skills in money master classes, youth-led saving banks and marketplace enterprise loan challenges across the UK and beyond.

“I have a bank account and it’s going straight in! MyBnk have helped me learn how to save so I can spend my money on useful things and not waste it.” Richard Appiah.

“While financial education is now being taught in secondary schools, it’s only the tip of the iceberg for building a nation of savvy savers. Making effective financial decisions has never been more important. Financial education needs to branch out of the curriculum and become embedded in everyday life. And it starts from talking about money with children at a young age. We are thrilled to support initiatives with MyBnk to help reach more young people and empower them to make informed decisions.” ICAEW Director for Global Student Recruitment, Sharon Spice.

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