From humble beginnings around a decade ago, the service has developed to the extent that it’s now supporting hundreds of people each year with their debt and wider money issues.
As a faith-based organisation, Saltbox noticed that there was a reluctance amongst people who attended church to discuss their financial concerns with strangers/established debt support agencies. Saltbox, therefore, self-funded a small and targeted pilot service aimed at supporting just those parishioners who were experiencing that very issue.
In 2014 when Trussell Trust foodbank in Stoke on Trent felt there was a better more lasting way of supporting their guests than just handing them an emergency food parcel and signposting them to whatever other services they felt were most appropriate: instead, the foodbank wanted to help their guests deal with their core issues – one of which was managing their money more effectively. They approached Saltbox – whose expertise had grown considerably in this area since expanding the fledgeling service to include clients of their Restart ex-offenders rehabilitation programme – and asked if we could place a money adviser at each of the city’s dozen foodbanks, thereby giving their guests advice and support at source.
The pilot proved so successful that a full-blown project was funded from the city council’s Social Fund from January 2016 to October 2017, helping hundreds of people over that time to access an estimated £350,000 of previously unclaimed benefits and managing c. £150,000-worth of debt.
Money Matters, therefore, became an early example of Trussell Trust’s ‘More than Food’ programme.
With the advent of austerity, Saltbox realised it had to find alternative sources of funding and we are delighted to announce that having worked alongside Money Matters in various foodbank locations and witnessed the very real and positive difference the service was making to people’s lives, the major utilities provider Npower decided to fund the service as part of its commitment to charities via its Good Causes Fund. The great work of Money Matters is therefore now secure all the way through to November 2020.