11th June, 2013
David from Northumberland contacted Five Lamps in February 2013, to discuss extended his current personal loan. Vince Rogers, Five Lamps Loan Of...
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28th March, 2012
High risk finance is seen as a way of life passed down through generations. One of our customers told us "My Nan borrowed from the Provident, my Mam borrowed, I borrow and my kids will borrow when they turn 18. There is no other way".
When long term debt is in the forefront, our customers tend to experience a downward spiral and find it difficult to consider any way forward, be it training, volunteering or any form of employment. This leads to a general decline in their health and wellbeing.
It has been the aim of Five Lamps via their Capacity Builders programme to ensure that our customers are made aware of the options, alternatives and support available to get their lives back on track.
The ground breaking workshops are aimed at anyone who suffers from low self-esteem facing various financial challenges and unable to see a way forward. The intensive support programme encourags an invited group to review their current financial position, give them some innovative ways of saving money, reduce their outgoings and generally overcome any perceived barriers.
Capacity Builders has been well received with over 1,176 customers across the North East engaged on the programme. Many of our beneficiaries are ex-prisoners and as such require as much financial and debt management support on the ` inside` in preparation for a life on the `outside`.
This was further confirmed by Caroline Kitchen, Head of Offender Management at HMP Kirklevington Grange who identified the need for the programme and invited Five Lamps to tender for a contract to deliver the financial service in the prison.
As a consequence, a major part of the programme has involved interaction with pre-release prisoners at HMP Kirklevington Grange where we assist customer in money management, help them produce a budget; understand various financial terms and conditions which will ultimately lead to improved debt management.
Graham was approaching his release date and after attending the Capacity Builders workshop requested a follow up one-to-one meeting with a Financial Inclusion Officer to discuss what financial assistance was available from Five Lamps once he was released.
Graham was looking to purchase some gardening tools to help improve his employment prospects. He had previously worked as a Landscape Gardener and completed a number of further courses to build on his existing knowledge. He had already identified the type of work he wanted to do upon his release and his dream was to start his own business in the Gateshead area.
Following Graham’s release, he was contacted by John Hird, Five Lamps’ Senior Loans Officer who arranged to meet him and look at a positive way forward. During the meeting they discussed his aims and objectives and the range of options to help him achieve his goals.
It was agreed that once Graham had spoken to a Benefits Advisor and identified his entitlements, Five Lamps would be able to help him with a low cost loan to purchase the required tools. He has since sent his CV to several local employers and is confident of gaining employment very soon. John has also signposted Graham to the Economic Development Service at Gateshead Council, where he can gain access to free local advice on self employment.
During the past nine months Five Lamps have engaged with over 200 prisoners via the Capacity Builders workshop with at least 50% of those requiring the all-important one-to-one service, producing a positive outcome in all cases.
HMP Kirklevington Grange are so pleased with the programme, they have entered into a new service level agreement with Five Lamps which will produce not only the financial inclusion programme but further pre-release and enterprise support activity.
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