26 March 2024

Octavia Financial Resilience Team wins two awards at the RBKC Pathways

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Octavia’s Financial Resilience Team has received two awards from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) in recognition of their outstanding work in providing services that help local people be more financially resilient and find better paid employment.

The team, part of Octavia’s charitable Foundation, received the awards at RBKC’s Pathways to Work Charter celebratory event last month. The evening was held in recognition of the collaborative work that social housing providers like Octavia undertake with RBKC, to support tenants with advice and practical help with benefits, work, training, grants, and managing debt.

The Pathways to Work Charter was established by RBKC’s Housing and Employment Service in 2012. It aims to promote equality by ensuring that residents living in social housing can access effective employment support, as well as helping them deal with any financial difficulties that they may face. This is achieved through partnership working between RBKC and the borough’s various housing providers to provide training, employment, and financial inclusion initiatives for tenants and other residents.

Octavia received two of the seven Pathways to Work certificates awarded by RBKC:

  • Pathways to Work Charter Certificate of recognition of excellent commitment to generating the highest number of volunteering opportunities for the local community, and
  • Pathways to Work Charter Certificate of recognition of outstanding joint working to design and deliver training for residents.

These awards acknowledge the successful collaboration between Octavia and RBKC in providing high-quality financial and employability support to residents who need it. Octavia’s Financial Inclusion and Employment Support team has delivered a range of skills training for residents of the borough, including financial resilience training for more than 200 people.

The training award was in recognition of the Money Wise programme, which was run in partnership with RBKC and held at Octavia’s The Reed community hub in North Kensington. The programme helps residents who might be struggling with money to improve their financial decision-making skills, providing a safe space for people to share their financial worries and learn money-saving tips.

One attendee, Evelyn, said: “The course was amazing for me. I am saving money from checking shopping deals and have been saving about £10 a week, but I sometimes use this to help my family. I have also been able to save enough to pay for a new passport.

“I am using lots more maths in my day-to-day life and I am always checking prices, like how much things will cost me per gram. I feel less stressed using what I learned on the course. I have been more frugal with my electricity usage and shopping and checking sites to find new and free deals for things like furniture. I don’t waste anything at all and would look at using all the food in my house, even using some as compost. 

“I am prioritising my spending and decluttering and finding things I forgot I had, giving some of them to charity.  I have even been able to help others to do their shopping, assisting them with some price comparisons.”

The Money Wise course also offers referrals after the event, including employment guidance and support funds.

The Financial Resilience team at Octavia works closely with RBKC, submitting cases to RBKC’s ‘Homeless Prevention Fund’, which can provide financial support for residents who might otherwise face homelessness.

In the past year, Octavia’s Financial Resilience team has also recruited, trained and supported more than 550 people in joining volunteering initiatives locally, as well as offering employment and training advice to more than 100 people, many of whom have since gone on to secure paid work.

RBKC Housing and Employment Officer Monica Chabria has worked closely with Octavia. She said: “A huge congratulations to Octavia for their two recognition awards for their excellent commitment to generating the highest number of volunteering opportunities for the local community and outstanding joint working to design and deliver training for residents. 

“This is well deserved for their stellar efforts in both endeavours and continued commitment to the Pathways to Work Charter at the gold level with ongoing collaboration to improve the financial resilience of our residents within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.”