Personal Finances
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20th November 2008

CONSUMER COUNCIL LAUNCHES NORTHERN IRELAND’S FIRST EVER “MONEY WEEK”

You can make your money work for you, is the message from the Consumer Council as they launch Northern Ireland’s first ever Money Week in association with Coleraine Borough Council. Consumer Council research shows that consumers here are bottom of the UK league when it comes to managing our money . Money Week is a series of events designed to help people develop the skills and confidence to manage their money, budget wisely, save for a rainy day and know where to get help if they’re worried about money.

Beginning on 24 November, Money Week has more than 20 events organised by the Northern Ireland Financial Capability Partnership[a] targeting young people, older people, workers and students.  It includes games and stories for schools, advice clinics for students, workshops for employees and much more.  The week ends on Saturday November 29 with a Christmas Money Market at Coleraine Town Hall when market stalls will be packed full of advice and tips to help everyone take care of their cash and plan for a more financially secure future.

Calling on the consumers of Coleraine to get involved, Eleanor Gill, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said: “Times are tough for consumers with our rising cost of living work showing that four in five people here are struggling to pay their household bills and most of us are worried about how we are going to make ends meet[b].  With the belt tightening as the winter months creep in and Christmas just around the corner, there is no better time to take control of our finances and make our money work.  We are delighted to be working with Coleraine Borough Council on this important initiative for consumers in Coleraine and across Northern Ireland.”

Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor David Barbour said: “It is important to support our community during these difficult times, and Coleraine Borough Council is pleased to be taking this pilot project forward in partnership with the Consumer Council.  The many events planned throughout Money Week are specifically designed to meet the needs of each audience in either a working or community location. The important message we are working together to get across, is that you are not alone. Advice and support is out there and will continue to be there during and after Christmas, when many families feel great distress about their financial situation.  Leaflets and posters have been distributed to a large number of public facilities so I hope those seeking information take this opportunity and meet with the professionals who can guide them in the right direction.”

The NI Financial Capability Partnership is the first of its kind in the UK and was set up by the Consumer Council with the support of the Financial Services Authority to develop projects to build consumer confidence and money management skills. It brings together the Financial Services Authority, banks, building societies, credit unions, education, advice and community groups who are all doing their bit to help us all to be smart with our finances. 

Media Contact:          Susie Brown, Consumer Council, 028 9067 4807,

                                    Rosemary Allister, JPR, 028 9076 0066

NOTES TO EDITORS.

Research Information from NI Consumer Council

  • One third of people here believe they are only one month away from financial hardship should they face an unexpected drop in income;
  • Older people are more confident about money and better at running their financial affairs;
  • Half of people surveyed did not hold any insurance to cover loss of income or property and;
  • More than a quarter of people said they did not use any information at all prior to choosing a financial product such as opening a bank account, taking out a loan or getting a mortgage.

The NI Financial Capability Partnership

The Consumer Council is funded by the Financial Services Authority to lead the Financial Capability Partnership which brings together government, banks, building societies, credit unions, education and community groups to ensure that consumers are helped to manage their money and make it work the best for them.

The Partnership is the first of its kind in the UK and is heralded as an example of best practice.

Members are:

The Consumer Council        

Advice NI                               

Adult Finance Learners Project (AFLP)

Age Sector Platform            

Association of NI Colleges 

Bank of Ireland                     

Business in the Community

Citizens Advice NI                

Consumer Credit Counselling Service

Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessments

Educational and Guidance Service for Adults (EGSA)

Financial Services Authority           

First Trust Bank                                

Irish League of Credit Unions

Nationwide

Northern Bank

Northern Ireland Committee, Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Northern Ireland Community and Voluntary Assoc

NI Courts Service

Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister

Omagh Independent Advice Services

Personal Finance Education Group

Progressive Building Society

Queen’s University Belfast

Ulster Bank

Ulster Federation of Credit Unions

University of Ulster

Youth Sector Representative

Advice on managing your money and ‘Money Week’ details are available from the Consumer Council website www.consumercouncil.org.uk. A budget planner is available for all consumers either on the website or through free phone 0800 121 6022.

For more information, visit the website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk



[a]The NI Financial Capability Partnership members are detailed below in notes to editors

[b]Consumer Council snapshot survey – August to October 2008