Many will be hoping for a return to what was normal pre-lockdown. In reality, some things may never be the same.
The UK is starting to dust itself down and prepare for new beginnings. While we shouldn’t forget Covid may not have finished with us yet around the world, we can begin to hope.
As editor of Quids in! magazine, I watch the news through the lens of our readers. The government and media has started telling us how the country is bouncing back. But big upturns in consumer spending aren’t what they seem if they’re compared to this time last year. None of us bought anything but the bare essentials for a while. Some of us couldn’t afford even those.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
Positive news won’t relate to many Quids in! readers’ lives. As evictions and debt-chasing resumes, hardships for many will feel, well, harder. And as furlough schemes come to an end, more jobs may still be lost. The brighter the headlines, the more alone many will feel. One reason Quids in! makes me proud is because so many people say they felt more connected after talking to us.
Our involvement in the Nobody in the Dark campaign was a real highlight in a dark year. We got to work with digital access charity, the Good Things Foundation, and global brand Mastercard. They helped make our Future-Proof Finance Quiz available online for anyone. In some areas, we were able to launch a phone-based service helping over 1,000 people. Cut off from family and friends, people could talk to us, find help and keep food on the table.
We’ve just published an Impact Report that shows the difference the service made to people. After just a couple of phone chats, people became on average £317 better off. That doesn’t include employment income they added. In a few areas, we offered the service to struggling benefit claimants. After 5-6 weeks, the average cash boost was £950. After 12 weeks, it averaged £2,250. Anyone can use the Quiz. Try it and follow the steps it recommends. See how much better off you could be.
I’m astounded what can be done when people just know where to look and what questions to ask. Why doesn’t anyone tell us this stuff? Why do we leave school not knowing how to find deals, get what’s ours or avoid being ripped off?
REASONS TO BE HOPEFUL
What our Quiz does, is help us work through every step we might take to get what’s rightfully ours. As the Nobody in the Dark name suggests, we can help people switch on the light and find the help they need.
I have no doubt the coming months will be tough for many. Some might need to give up on the idea of going back to what they know. Jobs in some sectors will go but others will spring up. Pubs and restaurants are desperate right now. The health and care sectors will also be crying out.
While we adjust, it’s essential we grasp hold of the purse strings.
Our agony aunt responds to readers money questions surrounding coronavirus, lockdown and more. Click on a topic to read the latest Q&As and submit your own question using the form below.