been quite a decade.
The first thing we set out to do was listen. Quids in! was designed for social tenants, benefit claimants and working people barely making ends meet. The people always talked about but rarely talked to… nor listened to.
When we ran our first survey, our readers were such amazing help. We knew times were tough but now we had firsthand evidence about what people needed - from Quids in! and from the powers that be. We travel the country reporting what we find from surveys conducted every two years, supported by insurance giant Aviva.
BUILT IT. THEN THEY CAME
Our first edition reached 15,000 social tenants but once landlords saw it in their hands, they wanted in. By 2014, we reached a staggering 300,000 households across all four countries of the UK. Putting celebs on the cover set us apart from the usual money advice leaflets. But
some, like Jack Monroe and Tanni Grey-Thompson were totally on our wavelength.
DECADE OF CHANGE
From day one, we wanted to help householders avoid the traps that mean being poor costs more. We wanted an end to pay-to-use cash machines on the poorest estates and improved access to lower cost borrowing.
By the time we launched, banks had crashed and the country’s finances had tanked. Jobs went, benefits were slashed and VAT went up making everything dearer. Life – and Quids in! – was suddenly about how we keep food on the table.
From the start, we followed Universal Credit (UC) and all the welfare reforms. UC making work pay sounded great but it became clear claimants needed more help. They faced chronic delays by not being online or not having a bank account. Without savings to fall back on, many hit crisis point. We couldn’t change the system so we published a UC Guide to help readers avoid the pitfalls.
Hearing a lot of local support missed the mark, Quids in! created a new programme of its own. Our money skills sessions are, or soon will be, delivered around the country.
Responding to an increasing threat, we work with the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit in the fight against loansharks. We’ve also teamed up with councils, foodbanks, MIND and other great organisations.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Who can say what will happen in the next few months, let alone ten years? Many feel things can’t get much worse and we hope they’re right. Most of us don’t have anything left to fall back on.
One thing we know is the future is more digital. Quids in! too. Our Readers Club has just won backing from the London Mayor and we hope to reach thousands in the capital and then beyond. Lloyds Bank is helping us bring advice, tips and deals to anyone with an email address.
For certain, our next decade will still be about protecting those who just want help getting by. My thanks go to everyone, from readers and paying customers to sponsors and partners – and the Quids in! team. With all your help, we’ll continue fighting our readers’ corner.
This article first appeared in Quids in! magazine 10th Birthday special