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Expert advice on managing your finances.

Families living on low incomes now have access to expert advice on how to better manage their money thanks to a pounds 1.8 million partnership between leading children's charity NCH and Barclays.

The new service was launched by MP Clare Short at NCH Birmingham Community Children's Centre in Winson Green.

Barclays employees joined the MP in a taster session of the Financial Futures workshops which will soon be available to families at the centre. Staff will volunteer at the project, using their financial knowledge to help around 40 families with their finances, covering topics including budgeting, getting the best deal on utilities and working out benefit entitlement.

Clare Short MP said: "This partnership shows how charities and corporate companies can work together to make a difference to people's lives. Each of these long-standing organisations has its own area of expertise and by co-ordinating their knowledge they can offer a great deal to Birmingham families."

Sue North, NCH Birmingham Children's Centre project manager, added: "Many of the families that use our project have to make a little money go a long way and often struggle to make ends meet. Without basic financial tools such as bank accounts or budgeting skills, things can go very wrong very quickly.

"With this new partnership we hope to make financial advice accessible and advisors approachable, giving our families the confidence and knowledge to intelligently manage their money and improve their own and their children's financial futures."

Gail Harris, Barclays' Soho Road branch manager, said: "The financial futures initiative helps us put the skills and experience of our employees to good use and will hopefully give vulnerable families in Birmingham the knowledge to make informed, long-term decisions about their finances and manage their money more effectively.

"By coming to the project, we got a real understanding about issues these families face, and know how to target the future workshops."

NCH Birmingham Children's Centre, in partnership with South Birmingham PCT and Birmingham City Council, works with around 300 families providing a range of services.

Over the next three years, Financial Futures will provide one-to-one advice and workshops on topics including budgeting and access to benefits at 18 locations around the country.

More than 1,000 Barclays volunteers are expected to take part in the initiative.

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Clare Short MP chats with Barclays local business manager Naila Iqbal
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 5, 2007
Words:392
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