In the Black Country, Just Finance Communities brings organisations together to foster collaboration on financial inclusion
Whether it’s one to one, within community groups or between organisations across a city, the Just Finance Communities programme brings people together to share their experiences of money and to collaborate on building financial wellbeing.
Financial wellbeing for individuals is often influenced by their local context including: employment opportunities, credit and loan options, access to free money advice and cultural norms around money management and saving. So, what does a financially healthy community look like and how can we create a fair financial system that serves everyone?
These were key questions asked by the 60 organisations who gathered in Wolverhampton in May 2018 for the first Just Finance Black Country Summit.
Convened by Cassius Francis, Just Finance development worker in the Black Country, the summit looked at the causes and drivers of financial exclusion in the region and considered what can be done to promote greater financial inclusion.
For some organisations, many of whom have been engaging with issues around financial inclusion in their communities for years, the summit was the first time they had met with others working in the same field. One participant commented on how encouraging this was:
For the first time since we started working on our project, we met people who were working in similar field who shared similar experiences. It’s by far the best conference I’ve ever been to. I have learnt so much and more importantly, the real test of any conference, is the impact it imparts upon you.
The themes of connection and collaboration will continue in the work of a ‘task and finish’ group which will develop partnership opportunities and implement joint actions across the region with the aim of increasing financial inclusion in the Black Country. Another participant shared their hopes for the impact the group could have:
Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to meet and speak with so many different organisations working towards helping communities around the Black Country and Sandwell, find solutions on how to cut back on financial exclusion and how working together to financially educate communities can bring change to so many different lives and families.