Here at Tickets for Good, our main mission is simple, to 'do good'. As well as ensuring that our NHS staff and charity users have equal access to events through our ticketing platforms, we also like to signpost our users to other organisations that we think 'do good' and have something valuable to add to the mix.
Due to recent events, we became very aware of some of the struggles that some NHS workers face, not only in the light of a global pandemic but in their everyday lives. These struggles motivated us to launch the NHS Giving Back Campaign to give NHS staff access to live events and online content. We hoped that by doing this, we could help NHS leaders bridge the gap in their staffs' work/life balance, something that UNISON claims 70% of NHS staff struggle with.
We understand the negative impact of financial health on NHS workers wellbeing. An article released by The Guardian stated thousands of NHS workers have been excluded from affordable mainstream loans, leaving them to pay interest of up to 1,333% from high-cost, short-term loans.
According to yourmoney.com, a staggering £45m of payday loans are taken out by NHS workers every year. These loans could be accumulating an additional £29.3m of fees to pay back on top - that's £74.3m of loan money spent by NHS workers. With employees as dedicated as the NHS workers are, this statistic and the clear exploitment of their financial health is appalling.
One social enterprise going out of its way to combat the effects of these loans is Salad Money. The company describes itself as the antidote to toxic loans by giving out small, affordable loans and free financial support, through its site SaladMoneyMind.co.uk to help its users make better decisions in the future. They deliver their goals through open banking and responsible money lending, especially for NHS workers.
They recently released a report looking into the previous financial history of some of their loan applicants. Among the most notable information was that an unexpected £100 bill would put at least half of applicants into their overdraft if they weren't in it already. The report also claimed that 50% of applicants rely on benefits to subsidise their wage significantly. Statistics like this might demonstrate why the number of NHS workers taking out payday loans is high.
Salad Money's application process does not affect the user's credit rating, which is often a stress point for applicants. Instead of a traditional credit check, the company performs an affordability check using secure information collected from your bank (with permission, of course). Trusts can partner with the organisation at no extra cost or liability, lowering the APR rate for their users to make loans more affordable for NHS workers.
Salad money also has tools like Salad Money Mind, which guides its users towards better financial awareness. It allows workers to compare their spending habits with other NHS colleagues anonymously and identify the extra benefits they may be entitled to. It gives information on consumer rights regarding unaffordable loans and signposts their users towards other tools that can help fix a bad financial situation.
In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to write posts like this, but for as long as we do, we believe that companies like Salad Money will go a long way to improve NHS workers wellbeing through financial health. We hope that by sharing the great work of valuable companies, we can help to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of our users.