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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 February 2008, 00:58 GMT
Money maze help for young people
UK money
Young people rarely visit Citizens Advice with money concerns
Two charities are to use new technology to help youngsters avoid getting into financial trouble.

Advice on money matters will be targeted at young people aged 16 to 25 via web content, podcasts and straight to their mobile phones.

Support charities Citizens Advice and YouthNet have teamed up for the project, which they hope will reach half a million youngsters.

It follows a government plan for more personal finance lessons in schools.

The modern way

Young adults, such as students, were particularly vulnerable to money troubles as they took responsibility for their financial affairs for the first time, said Citizens Advice spokeswoman Moira Haynes.

But only one in eight would consider going to their local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), the charity's research found.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Digital communication is currently the best way to reach the majority of people most let down by modern education, so I'm entirely in favour of this.
Nic Brough, London

She added that young people were more likely to search the internet for advice than turn to the more traditional face-to-face or telephone services run by the CAB in its 3,400 outlets across England and Wales.

Instead, the charity has joined forces with one-stop shop advice group YouthNet. Its website, TheSite.org, already carries advice for young people ranging from crime prevention to wooing techniques.

As well as Citizens Advice offering independent advice on the money section of the website, some 30 new money advice fact sheets will be created to be read on youngsters' mobile phones. Audio versions will be available to download to mp3 players.

About 600 young people have already been consulted on what type of information they would want from the scheme, which is expected to include basic definitions of financial terms such as APR and ways to avoid unscrupulous lenders.

The scheme is expected to be launched in late April or early May.

Figuring it out

The 300,000 three-year project is being funded by the HBOS Foundation, which works with charitable and not-for-profit organisations across the UK.

Secondary school pupils
Personal finance lessons in schools have been suggested

"We funded this ground-breaking programme, working with these two unique and respected charities, so that they can combine their unique areas of expertise and support and advise young people on the whole range of money issues that affect their lives," said Janet Roberts, grants manager at the HBOS Foundation.

The charities have stressed that all the advice will remain independent and not influenced by the funding body.

The new project follows a survey which suggested parents and teachers supported personal finance education in schools.

Some 93% of those asked by researchers for the Association of Investment Companies supported the move.

Personal finance education is not currently a mandatory part of the curriculum anywhere in the UK, although the government recently announced plans to add a new voluntary course called "economic well-being" to personal social and health education lessons from September 2008.



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