Shopping for food, cooking meals, washing clothes. There are many skills that young people need to learn before they are ready to live independently, but managing money is one of the most important.
Children who have grown up in care face barriers that can make it harder to gain vital financial skills. For instance, there are often unnecessary hurdles that must be overcome for fostered children to open a bank account.
Foster carers have told us they have had difficulty opening bank accounts for the children in their care, so The Fostering Network has been working with banks to make the process clearer and easier. To draw attention to this issue, we also gave evidence to the APPG for the financial education of young people inquiry.
Care leavers and young people in care also need support with financial literacy; The Care Leaver Covenant (the Government scheme aiming to raise care leavers’ career aspirations) have been working in this area. They have partnered with Metro Bank, who have committed to supporting care leavers, and young people in care (16+), with opening current accounts, cash accounts and savings accounts – depending on age and financial considerations – with a simple letter from their local authority and telephone call verification to be used as ID.
They are now testing this approach in some London branches by running workshops with young people and Metro Bank staff. Workshops will last for an hour and a half and food and drink will be provided; travel expenses will also be covered.
The sessions will provide helpful and straightforward banking and budgeting information, advice on standing orders and direct debits and helpful tips on cyber security; staff will also be available for an informal Q&A on any banking questions, previous credit issues or concerns.
Metro Bank will also offer immediate or future assistance with opening the right account for a young person. Participating stores have also assigned a care leaver representative, who will be able to support care leavers with opening an account and responding to issues they may face.
The Care Leaver Covenant said ‘We are excited to have Metro Bank as a partner because they are keen to make a real difference to people’s lives.
‘Metro Bank are truly invested in helping care experienced young people with banking. They want to know about the lives and challenges of care leavers, they want to understand people’s unique situations and experiences and they want to do what is possible to make banking easier for care leavers.’
If you are based in or near London and would like to be part of the workshops being hosted by Metro Bank, please email firstname.lastname@example.org