top of page
  • Abby Preston & Emma Österberg

Money Counts training in London - Using the ‘Worrying About Money?’ leaflet in London’s local authorities

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) represents nearly 150 charitable food aid providers operating across 21 London boroughs. Together, we envision a society without the need for charitable food aid and advocate for a cash first, or income-focused, approach to rising food insecurity and poverty. A cash first approach ensures that people facing financial hardship are supported when possible with direct cash payments alongside advice and support to maximise income. Ultimately, a cash first approach to food insecurity would mean everyone is able to access an adequate income through wages or social security payments and can afford the essentials

IFAN’s ‘Worrying About Money?’ leaflets, also known as cash first referral leaflets, are designed to help both people struggling to afford food and support workers to identify available cash first options as well as local advice and support services.  Each leaflet is linked to a local authority area and is co-developed and disseminated by IFAN in partnership with local authority teams and local advice providers and frontline food aid providers. They are available as hard copies as well as in poster, interactive, translated, easy read and audio formats.

In Greater London, 17 ‘Worrying About Money?’ or cash first referral leaflets have been co-produced and shared in Wandsworth, Westminster, Brent, Croydon, Enfield, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Barnet, Bexley and Haringey.

Alongside the leaflets, Money Counts training sessions have been co-developed to help support workers and volunteers to gain knowledge and confidence in using the resources. Money Counts training was originally developed in Scotland by the Highland Money Counts Partnership following the publication of their local ‘Worrying About Money?’ leaflet. Training was then replicated in Glasgow, Cornwall, Plymouth, and Shropshire and, more recently, in London.

As food insecurity has risen across London and the rest of the UK, it’s been vital that volunteers and frontline support workers are provided with opportunities to gain knowledge and confidence to support people and help maximise incomes. It’s commonplace for people struggling to afford food to be lost in a maze of confusion re which support to access first. Both the ‘Worrying About Money?’ leaflets and the Money Counts seek to help break down the barriers preventing people from finding ways to maximise income as a first action. Connecting people to cash first advice and support reduces the need for charitable food aid and the pressure on food banks and other food aid teams. Ultimately food banks should be the last ports of call.

Thanks to funding from LondonPlus and the Greater London Authority (GLA), we’ve been able to run London Money Counts training sessions in 8 London boroughs where ‘Worrying About Money?’ leaflets are in circulation. Drawing in large numbers of attendees, these online training sessions have helped frontline volunteers and support workers in these areas gain confidence in using the step-by-step guides, increase their understanding of a cash first approach to food insecurity and expand their knowledge of local support services. 

In order to best share local knowledge, we worked with local partners to deliver the training including Citizens Advice bureaux in Kingston, Wandsworth, Kensington and Chelsea, Croydon, Newham and Brent as well as with organisations such as Croydon Voluntary Action, Kensington and Chelsea Social Council, SMART London, Nucleus, Crosslight Kensington, Campden Charities, Sufra, Age UK, Lewisham Local and the local authority teams in Newham, Westminster, Wandsworth and Kingston. Being in a position to co-deliver London Money Counts sessions alongside active local agencies meant we were able to provide key information on local context during the sessions making them more impactful and useful for participants.

Working directly with local authority teams helped to increase the reach of the sessions as we were able to advertise through council networks. In Newham, we ran two sessions with Newham Council for their Cost of Living champions and for the wider voluntary sector alongside Citizens Advice Newham. In Wandsworth, Kingston and Westminster we also worked closely with council teams to deliver the training. 

In Kensington and Chelsea, we co-ran a face-to-face session at the Town Hall where the turnout was excellent. This involved a lively Q&A session followed by a panel session with Citizens Advice, Crosslight Kensington, Campden Charities, and Nucleus. Subjects under discussion included asylum seekers’ access to advice agencies, making the leaflet more user friendly, and the intricacies of a cash first approach. To have the opportunity to discuss these issues in the area itself was really helpful, and we’d very much welcome being involved with more in-person sessions in the future.

Feedback from training sessions has been really positive. Asked if their local session had been useful and for any other feedback, participants contributed comments such as:

“Yes, we have ordered some of the leaflets and will be sharing with our families” (Westminster)

“It will be very useful when speaking with people who visit the food bank.” (Wandsworth)

“Yes, when I speak to families in Croydon I will have a much better idea of how Croydon works and who to signpost to” (Croydon)


“At our church we are very keen to use the learning from this course. We run a food bank and we get asked questions which at the moment, we cannot answer. This training will help with that. But it will also help us be proactive with food bank guests and hopefully help them get off the food bank treadmill.” (Croydon)

“Yes, I will share leaflets with parents at my school.” (Newham)


“Yes, some valuable information on money and how to access support advice and funds for families in need or experiencing hardship.” (Newham)

“Yes it was fantastic! I am currently a PhD student looking into food insecurity in Westminster. I am trying to become more aware of the services currently available and how they work together. Although I am not directly working with individuals at this point, what I learned from the training will be included in the work I'm doing.” (Westminster) 

“Very good session. Clear, helpful.” (Newham)


“Thanks for your support to the community and organisations.” (Newham)


“Training is worthy and very useful.” (Newham)


“Good training, it was not too long and it covers all the necessary points.” (Newham)

​​“Just a big thank you for offering this training - there is nothing else like it (I have been looking!)” (Croydon)

“Very informative and will be useful in my work” (Wandsworth)

We received orders for thousands of leaflets and posters as a result of London Money Counts training sessions. We’ve also been able to start conversations on the need for translated versions of the leaflets and have successfully commissioned these in Croydon, Wandsworth, Newham, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets with ongoing requests being discussed with local stakeholders in Kingston. 

Organising the London Money Counts training sessions provided a great opportunity for us to forge stronger relationships with existing networks in each area, create new collaborations as well as reestablish older partnerships. Examples include reconnecting with the Kingston Advice and Information Alliance (KIAA) in Kingston and forming new relationships in Kensington and Chelsea when the Kensington and Chelsea Social Council got involved in organising the training.

A big thank you to LondonPlus and GLA for giving us the opportunity to undertake this project. We welcome future opportunities to further enhance the reach of the ‘Worrying About Money?’ leaflets in all London boroughs.

If you’d like to find out more about IFAN’s ongoing ‘Worrying About Money?’ cash first referral leaflet project please get in touch with us at 


bottom of page