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Wilmslow-based chartered accountants Langricks have teamed up with national education charity DebtAware to give more children a better understanding of finances at a younger age.

Money skills are not routinely taught in primary schools, but this is the best age for behaviours to change and for children to start understanding the meaning of money, according to DebtAware Education Manager Brian Souter.

Brian Souter says: “When you look at the millions of people struggling with debt – many of whom have never been taught about handling money – you realise how important it is to give youngsters the basics,” he said.  “At DebtAware we believe that good habits with money can be instilled from as young as nine or ten years old. It shapes attitudes for a lifetime.”

The inspiring education programme called Money Skills for Life, uniquely created by children for children, is seriously under-resourced so Langricks is leading a fund-raising drive to extend its reach.  

Director Chris Langrick commented: “You cannot help but be impressed with the approach of this charity. It’s done such good work in the last four years and we think deserves massive support to take it wider, higher, quicker – to allow more children to benefit.

“There is a great fit with us – we are doing the same thing – instilling good money management strategies with businesses and using money wisely to sustain growth. Personal debt – with all its associated pressures – is a reality in today’s society. If we can help the next generation be better with money then we will have made progress.”

In a recent money management survey by Skipton Building Society, a quarter of British adults said they had no savings and 1 in 10 said they typically spend more than they earn.

Worryingly a tenth of the 2,620 people polled admitted to being terrible with money.

In the last four years DebtAware has extended its Money Skills for Life education programme into 160 or so primary schools in the North West.

Over 10,600 children have received the lessons to date, with excellent feedback, taking skills home to set up savings accounts of their own and looking for best rates of interest – for their own and their parents’ money.

Teacher Sarah Chapman at Euxton Primrose Hill Primary school in Chorley said her Year 6 class loved the lessons.  “DebtAware has thought carefully about what motivates children and made it fun, relevant and easy to understand. Even words like balanced budget, surplus and deficit – they get what they mean and are applying what they learn.”

The DebtAware team provides six main modules which are taught in years five and six and  appoints pupils as Money Mentors – over 1000 to date - to develop reminder lessons in between. “This is the real beauty of the programme,” said Sarah. “Pupils teaching other pupils. It has delivered good results for the class and for the individuals involved.”

Lessons are currently provided free of charge for the first year of a school’s involvement in the programme, then schools are asked for a small annual donation.  This helps to keep the project sustainable. The charity also gets some support income from its parent charity - Debt Advice Foundation.

Langricks will launch the campaign to get more teams on the ground at its first fund-raising event – a Golf Day at Shrigley Hall, near Macclesfield, Cheshire – which is planned for 19th September.  Chris again: “We are calling on our network to join us in campaigning to help more children learn financial skills for life.”

Brian Souter again: “We are delighted to have Langricks on board and look forward  to working with them to take the Money Skills programme to the next level.”

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