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Project information

Money Matters - Financial advice for refugees

The ‘Money Matters’ course provides financial advice for refugees and asylum seekers, ensuring they make a good financial start in the UK by helping them to manage money, plan ahead, have access to financial services and gain the knowledge to help minimise financial risk.

June 2011 - June 2012

Charity information: RETAS Leeds

RETAS Leeds logo
  • Need


    This project meets a critical need - there is currently no financial inclusion support specific to refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds. This is despite research stating “Refugees and asylum seekers are identified as groups that are most likely to experience financial exclusion in the UK” (Mitton, Blake, de Jong 2008). The Money Matters course aims to address this problem - these excluded groups also struggle to manage financially due to language difficulties and low income.


    The course provides significant benefits for refugees and asylum seekers. Refugees with new status have new challenges to face and undergo huge cultural adjustments - the course educates this group on managing benefits and bills, how to save and how to budget. Therefore they are able to manage money better and more sustainably whereby preventing risk to welfare and health. Asylum seekers receive guidance on how better to use their money, as they can struggle to live, often facing destitution.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To ensure refugees and asylum seekers are able to access financial services in the UK.


    » Through advice and guidance, as well as course representation from HSBC and HMRC, these client groups will gain knowledge and understanding.

    What success will look like

    Success will be... refugees and asylum seekers relaying their understanding, and more importantly putting it into daily practice.

  • Impact


    • 80 refugees/asylum seekers across Leeds to have a comprehensive understanding of budgeting, banking and financial services available. These clients will have increased hope and reduced concern for the future.
    • 80 refugees/asylum seekers have reduced money worries and maintain personal finances. Consequently they will be able to focus on finding employment, training or educational provision.
    • Refugees/asylum seekers not already in debt will be able to avoid personal debt.


    The risks are often due to lack of funding, which could prevent the course from being run.

    There are other courses on financial management, (which could be perceived as putting our project under risk), but these have been examined, and none have the focus on refugee and asylum seeker issues as the Money Matters does.

    There was a risk several months ago of client numbers dropping, but as a new asylum reception centre is to open in Huddersfield in April, there is no longer this risk.


    • Number of Money Matters course participants (Each course recipient will register with RETAS). Course registers will also be completed
    • Number of Money Matters advice sessions completed
    • Feedback and development after the course, Informal feedback is acquired after each course

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,293

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      Amount Heading Description
      £8,843 Trainer Salary Trainer Salary for 12 months
      £850 Course materials projector, course booklets, flip charts, and subsistence fro trainees
      £600 Publicity posters, newsletters, publicity via meetings
  • Background


    The location is at RETAS's premises in Harehills, Leeds. This is in the heart of the community and is easily accessible, on a number of major bus routes. The premises also have disability access.


    - Refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds and West Yorkshire
    - Local financial services organisations (such as local as well as national banks/building societies
    - in the longer term, by enhancing knowledge and understanding these client groups will help Leeds City Council achieve it's regional objectives

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    RETAS is the only organisation within West Yorkshire that offers specialist employment, training and requalification services to refugees and asylum seekers. In operation since 2003, it has delivery centres in Leeds, Huddersfield and Bradford. RETAS has vast experience of delivering employment, training and skills support, projects and programmes. Some recent examples include delivering RIES (Refugee Integration and Employment Service) Access 2 Employment and Big Lottery projects.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Chris Davies

    Chris is a key member of our team and has been delivering the Money Matters course for since October 2010.