Cakes and “Awesomestow”

This weekend Money Saving Movement (MSM) placed itself back on the streets (well actually on a lovely piece of grass) in Walthamstow (Or “Awesomestow” as they like to call it). We have been itching to get back there and talk to the lovely people of this diverse area for a while as Walthamstow really interests us.

Walthamstow has been home to a number of research visits for MSM. It sits within the Borough of Waltham Forest which has some of the highest concentrations of deprivation within the U.K. Its High Street is notable for its long market (apparently the longest in Europe). The high street is busy with high cost lenders and high cost retailers, unfortunately. Both of which MSM are not fond of. However the people of”Awesomestow” are brilliant and we found them great fun to talk to. This might have been helped by the Free Cake, more about that in a bit.

The objective of this trip was to spend some more time talking to ordinary people about how we might design an alternative social enterprise service to high cost rent to buy retailers. So when we arrived we were all prepared with a pre-planned discussion structure, gazebo and the all important MSM banner. Most importantly of all (well maybe) we were also offering Free Cake supplied by the lovely Dee.

I’m pleased to say that we found out A LOT. Here is a quick snapshot –

  • People continue to use rent to buy retailers.
  • People are also paying for warranties to cover themselves in the eventuality that something goes wrong with an appliance.
  • People like brands that have a solid reputation.
  • People would purchase from a social enterprise.

It was great to hear people’s opinions and the data provided us with plenty to think about. For me it underlined the importance of “getting out of the office”. I wonder how much emphasis is put on this within business. I hear plenty of people talk about it but I struggle to find actual examples. It is core to our approach at MSM and we are looking forward to doing lots more of it.

Have a great week everyone.


James Perkins


Money Saving Movement  MSM in Awesomestow 1MSM in Awesomestow 2


The idea!

The creation of a money saving movement (social enterprise) is an idea around providing social landlords with effective up to date money saving content, practitioner support and training. This can then be used by them to engage with their residents more effectively and ultimately help them to save money. The social enterprise would work by having social landlords subscribe to services. Services would include access to downloadable content for use in their communication channels (website, newsletter etc). Additionally there would also be access to a practitioners area where best practice could be shared through forums. A training arm could also be developed around training practitioners on commercial saving techniques. This could be extended to provide further public training workshops. In summary we work to get money saving information to the people that need it the most. Collaborating with social landlords to target low income families with helpful money saving information.

Who holds the key?

Working in social housing has given me a powerful insight into the efforts made by social landlords to support their residents in this difficult time. Landlords are specifically concerned over the implications of welfare reform and the effect an increase in rent arrears will have on their business models. This has prompted them to up the level of resident financial support activity. This includes the employment of welfare benefits /financial inclusion officers and increased debt advice sign posting.

It is evident to me that social landlords (1200 in the UK) hold the key to reaching many of the people who are in need of financial advice and support. However their activity is limited, more could be done and should be.