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Making sense of money

Posted on 28 January 2014

New graphic novel Skint! to help more young people build money skills
Download the press release here

Take a look at the dedicated Skint! website

A free graphic novel to help young people develop good money skills and prevent them from sinking into debt is launched today in England by Scottish Book Trust and Standard Life Charitable Trust.

Skint! is a thought-provoking graphic novel that harnesses the power of stories based on real life experiences to bring money management to life. It is targeted at the adult learning sector in England to help tutors support 16-26 year olds, with a particular focus on young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

Groundwork is managing the programme, identifying suitable candidates and distributing the books throughout England. Training sessions are delivered by Quaker Social Action.

Skint! BookThe novel, which is backed by a comprehensive training programme, uses a comic-strip style of storytelling to explore real-life financial situations. The young people are put firmly in the driving seat when it comes to how the story plays out. They are offered a choice of endings which engage them in financial decision making and help them to develop their literacy, numeracy and financial capability skills.

While the latest figures show that there has been a decrease in the number of unemployed 18-24 year olds in the UK over the past year, the number unemployed for 24 months or more has increased and totalled 107,000 at the end of November 2013. Without work, budgets are likely to be very tight and good money management becomes even more important. In developing this key life skill, young people are also improving their employment prospects and Skint! works well when used alongside work experience programmes.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Skint! uses the power of language and drama to engage young people in financial decision-making, enabling them to develop some of the fundamental skills and understanding they need to help them keep track of their finances, to plan ahead and think through the impact of financial decisions. The aim is to help young adults, in particular reluctant readers, to develop their literacy, numeracy and financial capability, in the hope that this will help them on the way to a future unburdened by money worries.”

Skint! is designed to make it easy for tutors to support readers through activities like budgeting and to foster discussions on a range of topics like planning ahead.

There has already been a high uptake of Skint! training courses by Adult Learning Tutors in England, meaning that Skint! is already set to support up to 100,000 young people in England this year – a number that will continue to grow.

Daniel Marshall, Project Co-Ordinator, Stevenage CAB, said:

“The CAB is known for helping people with their day to day problems, but we also aim to help people avoid problems in the first place. Skint! enables us to reach a younger audience and try to prevent them getting in to the difficult situations we see daily. We have already used Skint! with a local senior school and found that the students could immediately relate to the characters and their stories. We also found that the exercises developed for the programme perfectly complemented the book, providing a seamless approach to the financial capability lesson we were giving. It worked really well and we now plan to use Skint! with other schools in our area.”

Sandy Macdonald, Head of Sustainability at Standard Life, added:

“Through Skint!, Scottish Book Trust has found a really engaging way to help young people develop their money management skills and this is a valuable free resource for Adult Learning Tutors. By supporting tutors, we are helping young people develop good money management habits that will support them throughout their life. IT could also mean they are better placed when it comes to finding work and staying in employment. That’s why Standard Life Charitable Trust is supporting the roll out of Skint! in England, building on the success the novel has already achieved in Scotland.”

Skint! was first created in 2011 for young people in Scotland by Scottish Book Trust, with funding from the Scottish Government and support from Education Scotland. Following its success in Scotland and the very positive evaluation of the Skint! model, Scottish Book Trust has adapted the resource for the English adult learning sector.

The publication and launch in England is being funded by Standard Life Charitable Trust which aims to help those who are experiencing difficulty and disadvantage to make sustainable changes their lives. It is also being supported by Groundwork, who are playing an important role in promoting the adult tutor training courses, co-ordinating venues and delivering the books directly to, among others, youth support organisations, Citizen Advice Bureau, local authorities and libraries. Quaker Social Action have developed the training course for adult tutors, as well as building engaging and accessible resources to accompany the book. They are now delivering this course through Groundwork’s networks.

Groundwork Chief Executive Sir Tony Hawkhead said:

“Groundwork has worked with young people for over 30 years and in that time has always provided practical support to help them to fulfil their potential. That’s why Skint! is such a fantastic resource. It’s a very engaging way of looking at what some young people might think of as being a boring topic - financial management – and encourages them to look at simple ways they can get to grips with their finances.”

Judith Moran, Director of Quaker Social Action, added:

“QSA is absolutely delighted to be part of the plan to get Skint! to an English audience. Our core mission at QSA is to enable people to seek their own solutions to the issues that affect their lives. This is the real beauty of Skint! It describes everyday situations that ordinary young people could find themselves in – and helps them to think through the choices they would make, in those situations, building their confidence as well as their competence.”

To find out more, sign up for copies of the novel or to attend a tutors training course visit, where you can also download a pdf of Skint! and view case studies, illustrations from the novel and information about the impact of the programme.

People available for comment are:

  • Marc Lambert, CEO Scottish Book Trust
  • Sandy Macdonald, Standard Life Charitable Trust 
  • Judith Moran, Director of Quaker Social Action
  • Daniel Marshall, Project Co-Ordinator, Stevenage CAB

Notes to editors:

- Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland

- Skint! will be available in an A4 printed format and will be distributed free to selected groups through the Quaker Social Action and Groundwork charities from January 2014. A free downloadable pdf of the book, along with support notes and accessible versions, is available at Groups can register their interest by emailing

- Standard Life Charitable Trust is an independent charity established in 2009 which aims to helping people who are experiencing difficulty and disadvantage to make positive and sustainable changes in their lives.

- Skint! features comic strip illustrations by illustrator Metaphrog and scripted dialogue by author Gowan Calder.

- Groundwork is a Federation made up of 33 Independent Trusts and covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. As an environmental regeneration charity, it aims to address the key themes of youth, unemployment and living in a sustainable way.

- Quaker Social Action (QSA) is a not-for profit anti-poverty organisation which delivers a portfolio of permanent services and fixed term projects, offering interventions covering housing, employment, financial literacy, community cohesion, funerals and money management.

Debt and Employment Stats:

  • Young people are the biggest users of payday loans, with one in 10 having taken out such a loan in the past four years. Maxed Out report by The Centre for Social Justice
  • The average cost of living has risen by 25% the past five years, with the cost of electricity and gas bills among the greatest increases. Maxed Out report by The Centre for Social Justice
  • Every 5 minutes and 3 seconds, someone in the UK is declared insolvent or bankrupt. The Money Charity
  • Latest ONS statistics on young people and unemployment show that overall, the number of 18-24 year olds who are out of work has fallen by 3.9% over the year to end of November 2013. But within this, the number of 18-24 year olds who have been unemployed 24 months or more has increased by 18.5% over the same period, totalling 107,000 at the end of November 2013. Source ONS:

Press queries to:

- Helen Croney: T: 0131 524 0175 | M: 07751 69 58 54

- Nicki Lundy:, T : 0131 245 2737

Download the press release here