Every year we help thousands of people to get to grips with their finances and find ways of making their money go further, by giving them the tools and information to make the financial decisions that are right for them.

We work with our residents to ensure they can access available benefits and grants, help them reduce their utility bills and learn how to save money, even when they may have little to spare.

We helped Danielle get back on her feet

The pandemic has had a huge impact on the lives of our residents, with many struggling financially as jobs have been lost, people placed on furlough or working hours reduced. Many people have had to apply for benefits for the first time and needed help to manage their money and make ends meet whilst waiting for their first payment.

Danielle recently moved into a Clarion home with her partner, Jason, having become guardians of her two young siblings when their mother was no longer able to look after them. Aged just 22, she was forced to give up her job due to her new childcare responsibilities, and whilst she waited for her Universal Credit claim to be processed, they had to rely on Jason’s modest income, which left them stretched to breaking point.

Unsure where to turn, Danielle contacted us and we were able to provide one-to-one practical advice and support, reviewing her budget and taking steps to reduce her energy bills to help her feel more confident and in control of her household finances. Working in partnership with the Trussell Trust, we organised for Danielle to receive an emergency food parcel to tide her over until she received her benefits, as well as an energy voucher to provide some ‘breathing space’ to help her get back into a more stable financial position.

We are now working with Danielle to explore employment opportunities to fit around her parental responsibilities and help her plan for the future. Danielle said: “I’m so grateful to Clarion Futures, not just for the immediate practical help they gave me when I needed it, but also for their ongoing support as I take my first steps back into the world of work.” 

Meeting demand

Many of our residents were already in a precarious position before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, with few having the luxury of a financial buffer. By December 2020 almost half of our residents had had to cut back on household spending, and a quarter had resorted to borrowing money just to be able to buy food.

Our trained money advisers provided support to residents on more than 20,000 occasions during 2020/21 – up from 16,000 the previous year.

We also provide specialised advice and support on a one-to-one basis. And in 2020/21, we completed a record 3,820 cases – a steep rise from the 2,628 cases dealt with in 2019/20.

Our residents are able to apply for online banking and affordable loans and savings products through Leeds Credit Union, one of our partners. And we refer residents struggling with debt to expert advisers who can help. Citizens Advice, Money Advice Service, Pennysmart, and StepChange are among the organisations who we work with to help our residents.

For those who are in most need, we provide grants for essentials like cookers and fridges, as well as vouchers for food, gas and electricity, to give them a financial ‘breathing space.’

Tackling digital exclusion

For many of our residents, the cost of internet access can be a barrier to getting online, along with a lack of skills and confidence and access to a laptop or other device. That’s where our work to connect people to the digital world comes into play.

Being able to use the internet and tools such as email is an essential part of everyday life - from making medical appointments and keeping in touch with loved ones to finding and applying for jobs and saving money on household bills.

Our trained staff and volunteers help thousands of residents each year to develop digital skills and become confident using computers and the internet, with a series of free training sessions and courses.

We provide personalised support to meet the needs of the individual, which can include lending them laptops and prepaid Wi-Fi devices where needed.

We helped John explore the online world

Many of us take being online for granted, but not everyone has the confidence and skills to make the most of it. John, 78, had virtually no experience of using a computer when he signed up for an 8-week basic digital skills course run by our Money & Digital team. He wanted to be able to browse the Internet, use email and create Word documents.

Having completed the course, John is now able to get online confidently and safely and do all these things, as well as using his new-found digital skills to manage his Clarion rent account online and communicate with us to report repairs and share his views.

John said: “Nowadays everything is online, so without basic digital skills I was feeling like I’d been left behind. Thanks to the support I received, I’m now able to keep in touch with people using email, create documents for my social club using Word and manage my money using Excel spreadsheets. It’s made such a difference and I’d like to say a big thank you.”

Want to know more?

Please get in touch with us for more information.

Email the Money team

Email the Digital team