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New money skills project for blind & Deaf youth

The government’s Money Advice Service (MAS) have helped launch a ground-breaking project aimed at boosting the financial literacy of young Deaf and blind people in the UK.

The specialist Money Mechanics project is designed and delivered by the financial education charity MyBnk, The Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) and Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC).

Kirsty Bowman-Vaughan, Financial Education Lead at the MAS said their investigation found “barely any” specialised services were delivered to young people with these additional needs.

Just 29% of young people who are blind or Deaf manage their own finances.

The project will see over a thousand 16-25 year olds living with sight or hearing loss learn how to budget, bank, borrow safely, in their first languages to take control of their lives, sustain work, go to university, move into independent living and live life “without limit”. Training will also be scaled to other youth organisations.

The launch, endorsed by former Cabinet Officer Minister, Lord Blunkett, also saw keynote speeches and guests experience the games and activities we are trialling with young people.

Why?

Nearly 70% of blind and partially sighted young people are living on the poverty line and only 41% of Deaf young people gained 5+ GCSEs graded A* -C including English and Maths in 2016.

Those with disabilities also face a double disadvantage when it comes to managing their money and accessing financial services.

The project will focus on contextualising three award winning MyBnk education programmes, Money Twist to arm them with core money skills and navigate the financial system, Uni Dosh, so they can make an informed choice about going to university and live independently, and Enterprise-in-a-Box to equip them with employability skills.

“Control”

L to R: Kevin Satizabal, Young Ambassador, RSBC, Mike Brace CBE,
Money Mechanics Project Lead, Sharan Jaswal from MyBnk.

At the launch, Keynote speaker Toby Linton Burton, Chair of RAD, CFO at The Economist and British Sign Language user said “parents lacked the knowledge to help their Deaf child look after their finances.” Former Paralympian Mike Brace CBE, who was blinded at the age of ten, told guests “if you can’t be in control of your money, you can’t be in control of your life.”

“Deaf or blind young people have lower incomes and higher expenses than their peers, research shows they are frightened of money, are more vulnerable to debt and six out of ten find banks intimidating and unhelpful,” said Money Mechanics Project Lead, Sharan Jaswal from MyBnk. Adding: “we will not leave them behind. This project will educate and empower them.”

Paul Newbury, Head of the Hearing Impaired Unit at St. Clere’s school spoke of his fears for young Deaf people who will not have the chance to fulfil their potential due to the lack of initiatives, such as Money Mechanics. Kevin Satizabal, Young Ambassador, RSBC, who is also blind, echoed these sentiments saying: “It’s about independence. You don’t know how liberating managing your own money is.”

Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the ‘Dream Fund’ project will arm these young people with the skills to survive, thrive and live independently. We also intend to roll out the scheme via other charities nationwide.

Since 2005 players of the People’s Postcode Lottery have raised an incredible £168.4m for charities and good causes across Great Britain and internationally.

Quotes

Reporter Iona Bain experiences what it’s like for a blind person to enter their pin code.
See her Young Money Blog on the launch. 

Lord Blunkett said: “It gives me great pleasure to see a project like Money Mechanics tackling some of the root causes of isolation and deprivation. By teaching some of the most vulnerable in our society how to manage their money, in their own language, the doors of opportunity are opened to live life, without limit”.

Guy Rigden, CEO of MyBnk, said: “This project will have a lifetime impact on the everyday interactions of vulnerable young people, be it budgeting, understanding bills, prioritising debts or earning money, as well as on their aspirations for the future, for example considering university, starting their own business, or moving into their own home.”

RSBC chief executive, Dr Tom Pey said: “Our shared experience has proved time and again that deaf and blind young people are not being supported at school to grasp the fundamentals of handling money. This gap in their knowledge creates barriers to their economic and social independence. Money Mechanics will make sure young people with sensory impairment have the knowledge and skills they needed to deal with their finances effectively and independently.”

Dr. Jan Sheldon, CEO, Royal Association for Deaf people said: “Deaf young people often miss out on information because it isn’t accessible to them. One of RAD’s key aims is to deliver services in a Deaf person’s first language. Our participation in the Money Mechanics project will empower young Deaf people to become more independent by taking control of their finances.”

For more information, pictures or to visit a MyBnk session please visit www.mybnk.org or contact declan@mybnk.org.

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