Lottery funding puts bite on loan sharks
A BOSTON organisation has praised the impact that National Lottery funding has had on its ability to provide financial advice to social housing tenants.
Boston Mayflower Ltd was awarded £623,355 from the Big Lottery Fund to launch the Fit 4 Your Future scheme.
The scheme was launched in April this year and has helped 277 so far.
Project manager Katy Roberts said: "We are very thankful for the lottery funding which will enable us to help many people.
"It was back in the spring of 2011 that the Lottery launched the Improving Financial Confidence programme, which aimed to help people become more confident in and more aware of how to take control of their finances.
"Research showed that many social housing tenants were unable to access or use basic financial services and products such as a bank account, credit card or affordable loans.
"This can make it difficult for people to manage their money, cope with financial pressures and plan for the future but even everyday things such as household bills, paying for food, fuel etc become more expensive."
The 70 most deprived areas across the country, one of which was Boston, were invited to submit partnership applications and through the hard work of the partnership bid team, Boston borough's application was successful.
Katy added: "Nearly two years on, the Fit 4 Your Future team was in place, recruiting a skilled team working for Boston Mayflower, who is the lead organisation, Boston Citizens' Advice Bureau and TaylorITEX CIC.
"The application was also praised for its continual evaluation throughout the lifespan of the project and we're pleased to have Lincolnshire CVS on board with that.
"The FIT 4 Your Future project is already seeing the benefits of this Partnership working. The team brings all kinds of skills, knowledge and experience to the table. An individual doesn't just see one person, they get seen by a group of experts in their field and hopefully moving them on their journey as smooth as possible.
"Our links with the CAB also means we can raise Social Policy issues through the appropriate networks to make sure the concerns of Boston Borough are heard at a local, regional or national level.
"But as well as our delivery partnership, we have made it our business to involve more organisations as part of a wider partnership – allowing you all to shape how we deliver our project in Boston."
The team is also working with Lincolnshire Trading Standards to look at raising awareness of payday lending in the local area as well as Illegal Money Lending and Loan Sharks.
Katy said: "We are forging links with Lincolnshire Credit Union and the EMCU to offer a Rent Payment account to our Fit 4 clients, to help them prepare for Universal Credit.
And we're working closely with JobCentre Plus in Boston through client and volunteer referrals."
Anyone in social housing is able to access the service. They can be referred by a housing officer or self-refer.
For more information call 01205 318597.
By playing the National Lottery you help raise £35m every week for Good Causes. To see this difference this makes in your community visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk