We work with churches and other community groups across the Black Country (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton) to empower those on a low-income to build their financial capability, and to increase the supply of fair and affordable finance.

We are a core part of Transforming Communities Together that helps local communities in the area flourish so that people can enjoy life in all its fullness.

 

Our Local Community


 
  • The Black Country comprises parts of the Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton. The origins of its name are attributed to the outcrops of coal that colour  the local heathland.  Historically, the area was one of the most industrialised regions in the world and today boasts a thriving aerospace  and automotive manufacturing sector. 

  • The 2015 deprivation measures for Sandwell and Wolverhampton are in the top 20 local authorities.  The 2016 ONS study put West Bromwich 2nd and Walsall 4th in top 10 most deprived towns.
  • A recent Money Advice Service report highlighted that 55% of adults living in the West Midlands have less than £100 in savings, with those living in Sandwell having the highest levels of debt.
  • The West Midlands has the third highest level of indebtedness of any region in the UK at 18%.  All four Black Country authorities are in the top 8th most indebtedness in West Midlands:
    • Sandwell – 24.7% (most over-indebtedness in UK - 8.6% above the national average)
    • Wolverhampton – 21.1%
    • Walsall – 20.6%
    • Dudley – 18.1%

Source: a picture of over-indebtedness – Financial Capability Strategy for the UK

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Core Activities


1.

Meeting individuals, listening and assessing the opportunities in the local community.

2. 

Delivering the 2-hour UC Savvy presentation.  This session is designed to help people to 1. Understand what Universal Credit is, 2. Understand how to get ready for Universal Credit, 3. Know where to get help with Universal Credit

3.

Running Cash Smart Credit Savvy – a short, informal introduction to budgeting skills and saving delivered through five modules: 1. Spending Savvy, 2. Building a Budget, 3. Credit Cards & Loans, 4. Debt, 5. Savings.  Typically a one day 10am -4pm facilitators course, with material that can be customised to your context, supporting people 1 to 1, in small groups or running courses yourself.

Future activities include a financial education programme for primary schools, giving children the knowledge, skills and attitudes to manage money well with a LifeSavers CPD (September 2018); an employability conference for Black (African Caribbean, African and dual heritage) young people and their parents in partnership with University of Wolverhampton and Wesleyan Holiness Church to include a workshop on financial capability by Pentecostal Credit Union (February 2019); and a project with Black Country Chamber of Commerce Black Country Chamber of Commerce to promote payroll savings and the local credit unions.

Our Co-ordinator IN THE BLACK COUNTRY


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Cassius Francis

Cassius was appointed as Just Finance’s development worker in the Black Country to promote and support responsible finance providers and improve access to free debt advice, financial capability training and appropriate financial services.  Cassius was the Senior Pastor of the Wesleyan Holiness Church in Wolverhampton until the end of 2017 and continues to develop a church planting programme for the Wesleyan Holiness Church British Isles District. Cassius is particularly passionate about social justice, reducing poverty, and young people. He and his wife, Vanessa, have established and run a charitable project in Haiti and Cassius also organised the Black Country Homelessness Conference 2017 on behalf of Transforming Communities Together in partnership with Housing Justice.

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BLACK COUNTRY News


BLACK COUNTRY Training & Events


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JF Black Country
Transforming Communities Together
The Small Street Centre
1a Small Street
Staffordshire
WS13 7LD

Cassius Francis
07946 771 495
Email Cassius
Website