JOBLESS people facing mounting money worries this winter will be able to access help and guidance at a series of roadshows being rolled out across Leicester and Leicestershire’s libraries.
Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council’s library services have partnered with Moneywise Plus to run the advice sessions for people who are out of work and looking for employment.
Advisers will be on hand to provide information on the range of services available, including help with accessing a laptop to apply for jobs and where to find the best online money-saving deals.
Sangeeta Patel, Moneywise Plus project manager, said: “These are tough times for many people who are faced with rising living costs, reduced Universal Credit and unemployment. We all need support sometimes and find it difficult seek it out, so this partnership is especially important right now. Being at the libraries means our experienced advisers are on hand should people like confidential 1-2-1 support.”
The roadshow launch also coincides with Talk Money Week, which runs from 8 to 12 November. Hosted by the Money & Pensions Service, it encourages people to open up about their finances so they feel more confident with money and more likely to make better financial decisions.
Two of the four roadshows will be held alongside the county council’s Work & Skills Leicestershire workshops, meaning that anyone who is not eligible to access Moneywise Plus will be referred to Work & Skills Leicestershire. These two partnership events will be held at Loughborough and Hinckley libraries.
In the city, roadshows will be at the Central Library and Beaumont Leys Library weekly on Wednesdays. There will be a session at Hamilton Library on Monday 15 November.
Roadshows will also take place on Fridays at New Parks Library, starting on 19 November, and fortnightly on Thursdays from 18 November, at St Barnabas Library.
Councillor Christine Radford, county council cabinet lead member for adult social care, said: “We are pleased to join forces with Moneywise Plus to offer a wide range of services to enable unemployed residents get back on track. The pandemic has been a difficult time for many people, but there is much help available, including our Work & Skills Leicestershire programme which offers practical help and advice to those seeking work. I would urge anyone needing support to drop in to one of the roadshows.”
Councillor Kirk Master, assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods at Leicester City Council, said: “We know how important it is for people to be able to get help and advice close to where they live – that’s why we’re committed to providing as wide a range as possible of neighbourhood services from buildings like libraries and community centres.
“We’re very pleased to be able to provide venues for Moneywise Plus advisers to offer their help to jobseekers, and I’m sure that visitors to these sessions will also be able to benefit from the other services on offer at our libraries, such as internet access and a wide range of books, e-books and audiobooks available to borrow.”
Reaching People and its partners, the team behind the Moneywise Plus project, have warned that the end of furlough, removal of the Universal Credit uplift as well as rising energy bills and higher food prices mean that more unemployed people in Leicester and Leicestershire will struggle financially over the coming months.
The charity, based in Wellington Street, Leicester, is also concerned that many of those seeking work miss out on job vacancies because they don’t have access to a smartphone, tablet or computer or are without a reliable internet connection.
Among the people Moneywise Plus has helped is 44-year-old Kelly who was evicted from her home after losing her job. Kelly, who had started using alcohol as a way of coping, was referred to the project by Leicester charity Action Homeless.
With the help of her Moneywise Plus adviser, Kelly has been able to secure a place to live, access a food bank and get essentials to make her home comfortable. She was also given a donated tablet with two years’ free internet access.
Having the tablet has made it easier for Kelly to get back in touch with the family and friends she had drifted apart from. Since being referred to Moneywise Plus she has stopped drinking, taken an online college catering and hospitality course, and created a CV and online profile to assist in her job search.
Kelly, who now has a job, said: “I feel positive and feel I have a lot of avenues for support. It has shown me that people care and if you ask for support you get it.”
Another person to benefit from Moneywise Plus’s help is single parent Janet who wanted to become financially independent so she could pursue her career goals in post and pre-natal care.
With one-to-one support, Janet improved her IT skills, found the perfect course and secured a grant to fund it. Now a self-employed carer to pregnant women in the community, Janet also received money management advice – helping her reduce her bills so she could afford the equipment she needed to start her own business.
The Moneywise Plus roadshow will visit libraries across the city as well as Leicester’s Central Library and libraries in the county.
Visitors to the stands will be able to talk to advisers in confidence.
Moneywise Plus is open to unemployed people of any age who are in Leicester or Leicestershire and have the legal right to live and work in the UK.
It is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund and led by Reaching People. Its services are delivered by six partners across Leicester and Leicestershire, each bringing their own areas of expertise.