Senior figures in the Anglican Diocese of Durham have welcomed plans for a national network of savings clubs in primary schools which could give pupils as young as four years old practical experience of money management.
In an announced today 13th November, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings is putting forward plans for a pilot scheme where savings clubs administered by credit unions in primary schools would encourage children to save small, regular amounts of money.
Welcoming the plans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, formerly the Bishop of Durham, said: “How we think about and use our money is central to a fulfilled and contented life. That is why I strongly support this exciting initiative to encourage children to develop positive attitudes towards money and the habit of saving. One in four primary and middle schools are Church of England schools, so this programme has the potential to make a significant difference to the lives of millions of children and future adults.”
The programme would build on a number of successful small-scale initiatives already in place in parts of the country and evidence of what makes for an effective financial education programme.
Once evaluated, the proposed scheme would be extended to primary schools across the country starting with Church of England primary schools. The task group is seeking funding from Government and other sources for a pilot scheme in three areas of England working with the Credit Union Foundation and the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg). Six areas are being examined in the London, Yorkshire, East Midlands, North East and South West regions from which the three will be chosen.
The Diocese of Durham has been has been involved in such initiatives for several years and has been active building strategic relationships with credit unions and community banks in the region to help swell the numbers of people using their services.
Bishop of Jarrow the Right Revd Mark Bryant, said: “I fully support this initiative. We have been working with Credit Unions and Community Banks throughout the Diocese of Durham to increase the awareness of people in our churches and communities and get them to sign-up.
“One of those is the Prince Bishops Community Bank and I know that they have been involved with creating savings schemes for young people and working in schools to educate them about money management for many years.”
Bishop Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, said: “This is good news. In many areas, this has been going on for a while. In my previous Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham and here in the Diocese of Durham and I know that there are many examples of this kind of work going on already.
“The announcement from the Archbishop’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Saving to provide support and resourcing for this kind of work in schools is to be encouraged as much as possible.”
Lesley Richardson CEO of Prince Bishops Community Bank (PBCB) said:” Children need to get into the savings habit at an early age to help them understand the value of money. This then encourages them to keep saving for their future and hopefully allow them to become ‘money wise’.
“PBCB has been working within the schools in our area and the sense of achievement is so good. Children are the future and need to be guided through the correct paths of life in all aspects of their future. “
PBCB has just recently received a small amount of funding to employ a part time school development worker – thus giving their full attention to opening new school collection points and keeping the momentum going in the current and also continued support wherever needed.
Details of the announcement by the Church of England can be found here: