MyBnk charity gets a 'Care' award for teaching teenagers how to be thrifty
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 December 2015 | UPDATED: 16:19 10 December 2015
A not-for-profit education team that shows youngsters how to be more savvy with their money has won a national award for making teenagers leaving local authority care more streetwise with their spending habits.
The MyBnk organisation based in London’s East End won this year’s ‘Leaving Care’ title at the magazine Children & Young People Now annual awards.
It works with Tower Hamlets and 29 other London authorities from its Spitalfields offices off Brick Lane, teaching youngsters how to manage their household budgets in the adult world when they leave care.
Barely a-quarter of those leaving care thought they had been prepared enough for independent living, the organisation found.
“I never took debt seriously,” 19-year-old Anna Kay admitted. “Before I left care, debt just didn’t apply to me.
“But Council Tax caught me stone cold—nobody explained what would happen if I didn’t pay. I kept putting the letters in a draw.”
So she joined the charity’s intervention-style money-management programme which arms youngsters with skills to cope with life financially.
The programme showed her how to prioritise her debts and “take control”. Now she feels “everyday isn’t a struggle”.
MyBnk’s founder Lily Lapenna explains the help they give these teenagers.
“They need to avoid unnecessary debt like rent arrears,” she tells you. “We help them cope with living on a low income, looking for work with few qualifications or experiencing loneliness or isolation.”
The organisation, which also runs ‘streetwise’ pocket-money programmes in schools, has helped many young adults to restructure their debts, reduce rent arrears, reclaim overpaid tax and stop bad contracts, as well as teaching how to be thrifty with personal spending.
The government’s Money Advice Service found MyBnk had improved care-leavers’ financial capability to understand the banking system and paying their bills.