Practice Makes Perfect: Insights from experiential financial education in Blackpool

Paul Maynard MP

By Paul Maynard MP, Member of Parliament for
Blackpool North and Cleveleys

I am pleased to introduce the report on financial education, which is a collaboration between one of Westminster’s most innovative think tanks, the Centre for Social Justice, and Blackpool’s leading youth charity, Boathouse Youth. I am also grateful to the Lowell Group for their financial support for this work.

As a town with eight out of the ten poorest neighbourhoods in the country, financial precarity is not a new phenomenon in Blackpool even with the current increases in the cost-of-living. Starting at a young age, it is crucial for young people to learn how to manage money, build up financial resilience, and be equipped to master their own financial affairs. With limited provision in the national curriculum, charities such as Boathouse Youth are a great forum for financial education and plug an important gap.

The work Boathouse does across the Fylde Coast is all about partnering with children as they grow, offering development across their early lives, not just dipping in and out or helicoptering over them. It is a partnership that fosters confidence and respect and delivers valuable life lessons that are not always taught in an educational setting. The resilience Boathouse builds in young people is crucial for self-development in a world of great uncertainty.

Credit Boathouse Youth Ghyll Scrambling
Credit: The Boathouse Youth

As this report sets out, the world for disadvantaged young people is one often dominated by cash, where spending takes precedence over saving as a precarious future leaves only uncertainty. Young people face significant gaps in their understanding of basic financial concepts, but Boathouse’s experiential learning techniques help bridge those gaps through exercises that give young people direct experience outside of familiar environments.

Money confidence is something we all may feel we lack whatever our own resources. It is a complex environment, whether considering obtaining the daily necessities or navigating the world of pensions.

So, the conclusions reached by the Centre for Social Justice are fundamental. Financial education needs to relate to young people’s daily lives and challenges now and not a few years hence, and involve practical learning, rather than just a whiteboard.

Most importantly of all, as is the case with working on so many of Blackpool’s challenges, practitioners must see the world through the eyes of the people themselves to understand the challenges faced, not impose their own narratives.

I congratulate those involved in the project. I am sure Boathouse benefitted from the insights, and I hope both Lowell and the CSJ are able to disseminate the learnings from this project across a wider area.

Credit: The Boathouse Youth

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