A SCHEME to help people improve their employment options by managing their money has been extended for another two years.

The £2.4m programme, Better Off Finance was launched across Halton, Wirral, Sefton, Liverpool, St Helens and Knowsley in 2017 with the aim of helping 800 residents.

It has now signed up its 1,000th participant.

Funded by Building Better Opportunities by the European Social Fund and National Lottery Community Fund, the project was delivered by partners including Citizens Advice and RAISE - an independent charity providing free advice and training around welfare benefits, debt and money management with The Women's Organisation.

One success story is Catharine Ramage who left her teaching job due to illness in 2011 and unemployed for seven years due to her ongoing health issues.

Catharine said: “I really feel like he has given me tools for life to maximise my income and minimise my outgoings.

"I always tended to bury my head when it came to this stuff – now I have the confidence to find and negotiate better deals for monthly necessities.

"He even helped save me £100 per month on my bills which I can spend on the business!”

As well as support from Better Off Finance, she also worked with the support of Enterprise Hub and The Women’s Organisation and has now set up her own business, ‘Catharine Ramage Editorial’.

Catharine is now an editor and proof-reader able to bring written work to publishing standard.

She added: “I am now a business owner running my own editorial business from home –the support from my key worker meant that I had someone with me every step of the way whilst I took the leap of faith.”

The success of Catherine’s business means she can now buy her own home.

The programme has now been extended through the Building Better Opportunities fund for two more years, securing support for many more individuals across the city region.

Jo Mountfort, from The Women’s Organisation said: “This project has come at a crucial time where the austerity agenda and welfare reform are having a significant impact on our society.

“We are working to support those most affected and seeing people make positive changes in their lives.

“Being able to offer such a bespoke service means that we are supporting participants get to the heart of their issues with the help and support of expert colleagues at Citizens Advice and RAISE.”

Better Off Finance support is available to people who are unemployed in the Liverpool City Region.

For more information on the programme contact the team on 0151 706 8111 or at hello@thewo.org.uk