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Money skills in a real street

Photo: Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach and Nationwide's Divisional Director Deborah Bailey listen carefully along with Heartlands Academy pupils to financial safety advice

Young people from across the West Midlands are set to benefit from an innovative financial education link-up between West Midlands Fire Service and Nationwide Building Society. The new programme is being delivered at WMFS’s Safeside centre in Birmingham.

Visitors are being taught to be more financially aware in a variety of scenarios and settings - including a full-size, virtual Nationwide branch, complete with cash machine. As well as getting tips on safe use of ATMs and security of financial information, visitors are taking part in activities designed to highlight the importance of budgeting, spending wisely and saving.

The scheme is the latest element in an integrated programme of courses offered in Safeside’s interactive indoor street environment, complementing West Midlands Fire Service’s wider community safety agenda. Safeside’s young visitors enjoy practical safety sessions which, in turn, give them confidence and help to raise their personal safety awareness - all now complemented by the new financial input.

Volunteers from local Nationwide offices are teaming up with Safeside presenters to deliver the two-hour tour session to groups of pupils predominantly from Years 9-11. Some 8,000 children and young people will visit the new Nationwide branch this year.

Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer for the West Midlands, said: "We’re very proud of the varied yet fully integrated programme of courses offered by Safeside. They contribute directly to the personal and community safety awareness of the thousands of young people who visit every year. “Fighting fires and attending traffic collisions are just a part of what we’re about. By working with young people to influence their behaviour, we’re helping them to stay safe and take responsibility in many different areas of their lives. Our partnership with Nationwide will boost Safeside’s already strong reputation among schools wanting to bring a practical element to safety and citizenship education.”

Stephen Uden, Head of Citizenship at Nationwide, said: “Nationwide is proud to be part of this important work. Through our virtual branch and the efforts of our staff volunteers, we are confident we can make a real difference to the understanding of Safeside’s young visitors, equipping them to make safe, sensible and confident financial choices.”

Book MoneyLIVE now!

MoneyLIVE, Safeside's innovative financial literacy programme, takes place in our realistic street scenarios just like all our other programmes. Delivered in partnership with Nationwide Building Society, whose staff deliver scenarios as part of their volunteering, the scheme covers credit and debit, budgeting, personal safety and security, online safety, financial products, payday loans, consequences of debt and much more.

Safeside Manager Rob Hattersley said: "Feedback we get from both teachers and Year 8 students is that teaching maths and citizenship in a real house, shop, building society branch, court room, bus and street reaches the parts that classroom maths lessons can't reach. We aren't aware of any other similar programme in the UK and are delighted that due to such dedicated support from Nationwide volunteers, we can now offer this exciting course at a new price of £2.50 per pupil, reduced from our usual £6.00."

"MoneyLIVE is only available once a month," Rob added, "so get booked in soon. We are now taking booking for the whole academic year."

Full MoneyLIVE details are available here.

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