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Our residents are increasingly feeling the impact of welfare reform on their finances, with a quarter saying they tend to run out of money before the end of the week/month and almost half worrying about money. Plus the number of our tenants, particularly younger ones, turning to quick cash loans or cash converters is increasing at an alarming rate.

In addition, digital inclusion levels among social housing tenants remain significantly below the national average. This means that our tenants, especially those aged 65+ are missing out on the savings, estimated at £560 per year, of being online and the benefits for education, employment and social connectedness. The HACT Social Value Bank attaches a value of £1,875 to individuals being online. The introduction of Universal Credit will also mean that going online is the only way to apply for and manage applications for the majority of those in receipt of benefits.  

Affinity Sutton therefore views this as both a business and a moral issue and is seeking to increase both financial and digital inclusion among our residents. Our Money Matters programme supports tenants to manage their money and so avoid them turning to pay day loans and loan sharks.  And our Get Connected campaign is helping hundreds of residents to get safely and confidently online – often for the first time.

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Affinity Sutton’s national banking offer, delivered in partnership with Leeds City Credit Union, provides all of our residents, regardless of where they live, with easy access to online banking and affordable financial products. We’ve also teamed up with a range of partners such as Stop Loan Sharks and the Citizens Advice Bureau to highlight the dangers of high cost loans to our residents, and our debt advice partners are on track to provide free debt advice to over 1,500 residents this financial year.

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Working in partnership with Digital Unite and Silver Training, Affinity Sutton is championing digital inclusion, nationally delivering a comprehensive range of support to help get our residents safely and confidently using the internet as an everyday tool. Our training package ranges from our volunteer-led Digital Champion programme to in-home one-to-one get online support for our most excluded residents.

If you would like to talk about opportunities to work with us on championing financial and digital inclusion please contact Stephanie Noyce, Head of Financial and Digital Inclusion on 0300 100 0303, or email stephanie.noyce@affinitysutton.com