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The value of legacy – from 1920s Lancashire to 2011 London Docklands

A few weeks ago, 25 Year 12 students at George Green School took part in an all-day programme to understand how money works, and the way it can affect their choices and their future.

This was all thanks to our very first legacy donation from Mark Clitheroe and his family.

Being young in 2011 Tower Hamlets and growing up in 1920s Lancashire may seem a world apart but either could find themselves facing the same struggles and always, the need to look after your money.

Back then Britain was beginning a slow recovery from World War I; one million were out of work and at the end of the decade, was plunged into the Great Depression which lasted several years.

Today nearly one million young people are out of work, billions are still being spent on being spent on warfare and we’re in a bit of a financial mess!

Tower Hamlets, has the highest youth unemployment in London and the second worst rate of child poverty in Britain.

Mark knew what poverty was, unable to go to grammar school because his family could not afford the uniform, he realised the importance of watching your spending early on and later how organisations like MyBnk can help.

From his modest wages as an electrician, he saved his money astutely and if the family needed a big item like a couch, he did it one Hire Purchase agreement at a time – so nothing new from the catalogue until everything was paid off. All his money was saved to go towards seeing his children take up chances he never had.

“Pay your way and don’t take on what you can’t afford”: Mark’s money motto

Students at Mark’s session tackled everything from minimum wage and saving, to bank accounts and inflation. It helped young people understand how to navigate the current maze of deals and contracts thrown at them.

One student told us how the lessons gave him: “the skills and confidence to show I can manage money safely”.

Balancing what you want with what you need can sometimes be a harsh lesson you never really get – thanks to Mark’s legacy, these young people may not have to learn the hard way and start as they mean to go on.

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