Helping people from Durham to create their own financial safety net.
The North East has the highest levels of people in debt in the UK; more than half of the population, have less than £100 in savings, and would struggle if they lost their job or faced unexpected expenses. Working families in County Durham are increasingly worried about their finances with many becoming reliant on high cost, long and short-term credit. This is costing the County millions of pounds annually, because so much of the interest paid back to these lenders, leaves the County.
Over the last two years, we have been developing a project that is helping to deal with these issues head on. The Durham Savers project is part of our wider strategy aimed at tackling poverty and changing the debt culture into a savings culture.
How can businesses get involved?
The Durham Savers Project works closely with County Durham businesses to help improve the financial wellbeing of their staff. The aim of the project is to help businesses implement savings schemes in the work place where staff can save directly from their wages. This also fits into a much wider Public Health agenda that is looking at the physical and mental wellbeing of workers called the "Better Health at Work Award". The award helps business formalise the work they are often already doing around staff wellbeing, but includes financial resilience.
Our credit union partner has developed systems that make it easy for businesses to setup and offer their employees a simple method of saving directly from their pay. They take care of membership recruitment and all of the administration. Research shows that being more in control of our finances, leads to less sickness due to stress, more motivated staff and better health generally.
Contact us to find out more and arrange for someone to visit your business and show you how you and your staff could benefit from Durham Savers.
How can schools get involved?
Our school are at the heart of many of our communities, they are in a unique position to engage families on a regular basis. The Durham Savers Project offers schools a number of ways to get involved and help families reduce debt, household expenditure and save money.
One of the easiest ways that schools can engage with Durham Savers is by hosting events within the school that will attract parents and families; these can include financial wellbeing, debt and saving, cutting household expenditure and maximising income.
Schools can also setup savings banks for children where for about one hour per week, the school can help children save small amounts of money on a regular basis. It is the regularity that often leads to a savings habit, having a have a positive effect on the life of an individual.
In most cases, schools have direct communications with parents and guardians; this can enable schools to share the important messages about financial resilience delivered by the County.
We want all schools to be involved, so we work with school staff, parents and families first, then introduce school saving where appropriate, it is all about finding the right solution for each individual school.
The Durham Savers schemes in schools are running across the county, contact your school to find out if they are part of the project.
Community groups can also get involved; contact us to find out more.
Anyone can join their local credit union. Find out more on our Credit unions, financial help and debt advice page.
The Credit Union is a 'not for profit social enterprise' regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority; they provide a government guarantee on all savings so it is a safe place to save.