Pennysmart CIC was set up to combat poverty and exclusion for those in, or at-risk of financial hardship and/or debt crisis. This means we operate in some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods where our service is needed most across England & Wales.
We do this directly through our digital and telephone based, free-to-client budgeting, benefits and regulated debt advice including casework support service. And indirectly through our financial themed training events for community facing staff, volunteers, and money helpers.
Pennysmart Community Interest Company was set up in 2010 following a successful 12-month pilot project. We knew from a broad spectrum of data that poverty and deprivation was exacerbated by a lack of access to welfare benefits; awareness of debt solutions and ability to manage personal finances. We knew from first hand experience that these needs within the most deprived neighbourhoods was not being met by current providers.Pennysmart CIC began work targeting the most vulnerable low-income households by collaborating with a broad network of community organisations across Cheshire and North Wales. This network was established through running the North Wales Financial Capability Forum on behalf of Citizens Advice and later Money and Pensions Service.
Who we work with
The main beneficiaries of Pennysmart CIC services are those facing financial hardship and problem debt.
But we couldn’t reach those families and individuals without our network of community referral partners such as social prescribing link workers, social housing workers, social workers, primary health and care staff, school welfare teams, local authority and jobcentre staff, community workers and those working or volunteering for charities.
Because we rely on these amazing people to help those most in-need access money advice services, we will happily work with them jointly on cases to provide extra support and we provide a programme of short workshops, peer networking events and regular news updates to help those ‘trusted intermediaries’ feel more confident to identify money problems and refer their clients to the expert help they need.
Awards and Evaluations
In 2017 the Pennysmart CIC advice team were runners up in the IMA Debt Team of the Year Awards
In 2018 Pennysmart CIC were runners up in the Social Business Wales Awards ‘Tech for Good’ category.
In 2020 Pennysmart CICs integrated approach to debt advice was evaluated by IFF Research as part of The Money and Pensions Service ‘What Works Funding’ the full report ‘Improving financial wellbeing through the debt advice journey’ Nov 2020In 2021 Pennysmart CIC were shortlisted for the Steve Morgan Foundation 20th Anniversary Awards