Skills for life

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


SafeWise manages two 'skills for life' centres in Dorset, with a third planned for Swindon and Wiltshire in 2020. These are full size street scenes with working pedestrian crossings, complemented by a walk in house, shop, vehicles, beach, train, bus and more. Our educational philosophy is one of ‘discuss, decide and do’ where visitors are actively engaged in a realistic and immersive environment, rather than simply listening to advice.

The centres deliver road safety, fire safety, water safety and home safety learning alongside crime prevention and what to do in an emergency. Our new business plan envisages extending these topics to fully utilise the potential of these interactive scenarios to include healthy living, mental wellbeing, citizenship, environmental sustainability, digital wellbeing, householder responsibilities - and financial literacy.

In addition to our main primary school programmes, we plan to develop new schemes for key target audiences, including parents and carers of the under fives (Safe Start), young people living independently for the first time (Home Leavers), and older people wishing to extend independence for as long as possible (Age Well).

We seek start up funding for a part time project officer (£10k) to research, design and develop the financial literacy elements of these three schemes, and then to train, coach and monitor volunteer Visitor Guides who will deliver the scheme to small groups touring the centre. In addition, we seek funding towards marketing costs (£3k), as some of these groups will be hard to reach. Finally, some of the funding will be used to initially reduce the entry fee (£9k), which we now have to charge to cover general costs of running all our schemes. We would aim to reach 2,000 visitors in the first year, and could start the project as soon as funding was secured.

The financial literacy modules would be uniquely practical, as we seek the most realistic learning environment possible and employ our interactive 'discuss, decide and do' technique. For example, visitors may 'find' a set of household bills on the table in the kitchen and have to discuss which they should pay first and why. In the lounge or dining room, the topic of energy may come up and they might be presented with various deals and come to a decision about which is best value for money. Someone may knock on the house door to persuade visitor to sign up to something. They may be presented with car finance deals near the real car next to the house, or discuss travel options including walking, bike, public transport or car, assessing the financial implications of each. In our realistic branded convenience store, they will assess various offers, undertake some basic maths, and challenged to find the cheapest way to source a meal, and to balance this against healthy eating objectives. With all these scenarios, learners will discuss, decide and do, as far as possible, making it fun, engaging and memorable.

This would be a sustainable project. After the initial period of set up funded by this award, it is envisaged that it will continue to be delivered by our trained volunteer Visitor Guides, with monitoring and support from our permanent staff team. It would be reviewed annually and updated to remain relevant. Groups may then pay the full fee, or this might be subsidised by further sponsorship, grant, or commissioned funding.

Visitor learning would be assessed by means of a fun quiz on arrival, repeated again after the tour to demonstrate impact.

We believe this module would have a significant impact on parents and carers of the under fives and the life chances of their children through improved financial awareness; likewise on 16-25s living alone for the first time, and older people seeking to maintain independence in what can be a confusing financial world.

We are sure there are few other opportunities to deliver this in such an innovative and experiential environment.

Project Video


Moment of Pride

We are proud of the way our volunteer Visitor Guides use our real life scenarios (house, bus, street, shop etc) to deliver experiential learning to so many visitors on so many vital skills for life topics, making a potentially huge impact on life chances.

Location: Bournemouth BH11 8JJ, UK