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MSE Charity celebrates 10 years since giving its first grant

MSE Charity celebrates 10 years since giving its first grant

The MSE Charity is celebrating 10 years since its first grants were handed out – and nearly £900,000 later, MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis says he's proud that it's stuck to its original remit of giving small amounts of money "to where it's most needed".

Martin launched the charity in May 2008, and the first recipients of grants included a hostel for single parents, a homelessness group, a community money advice project, a credit union and three Citizens Advice bureaux. Each received up to £5,000.

Since its launch, it's given about £890,000 worth of grants to organisations including refugee charities and community groups. The money has been used to run financial literacy sessions and provide financial guidance in local communities.

The MSE Charity is dedicated to improving information and education about debt, money and consumer issues in the UK, with grants being given to not-for-profit organisations that make a lasting impact on how people think, behave and manage their money. 

Martin: 'The MSE Charity is where it all started'

Martin Lewis said: "It seems like only yesterday that MSE was such a small site, and we were very excited we were going to be able to start to give something back and give money to charity. Ten years on and a huge amount has been donated.

"What I'm most proud of is that the MSE Charity has still kept its original remit of giving small amounts of money to where it's most needed – to small charities and organisations that wouldn't get the cash otherwise.

"Personally, this gave me the taste, seeing the real impact that charity work can have. I've gone on to do other work with the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Trussell Trust and on financial education, but the MSE Charity is where it all started and it has continued to flourish.

"It's a wonderful thing for MoneySavingExpert.com to know that its funding and its brand is being used to do so much good and to continue to empower and boost consumers, even in areas where our work as a website can't reach."

What does the MSE Charity do?

The charity is currently a grant-giving body, rather than engaging in any projects itself.

It tends to fund small organisations with an annual income of under £500,000 and which have less than six months' funds in reserve.

The grants are up to £7,500 and usually go to organisations such as charities and credit unions.

As an example, Glasgow-based charity Positive Action, which helps refugees rebuild their lives after the removal of basic human rights, used the grant to deliver 15 four-hour financial literacy workshops to 155 disadvantaged individuals.

Workshops were delivered in several different languages, and afterwards, 100% of those involved said they felt more confident in handling their finances.

Another charity – Pembrokeshire People First – used its grant to fund a financial advocate, who provides support for people with learning difficulties.

The charity has two themed rounds of applications each year. The themes are: 

  • Raising the next generation
  • Life-changing transitions
  • Living with long-term challenges
  • Building and developing resilience

 The next round, with the theme 'life-changing transitions', opens on 2 September 2019.

How is MSE connected to the MSE Charity?

A donation of £235,000 was made by MoneySavingExpert to launch the charity, and substantial donations are given by the site annually.

The operational costs of running the charity are met separately by a personal donation from Martin, to ensure the grants go directly to the charities and organisations they are awarded to. 

Individual donations are also welcome, as the charity does receive some money from donors as well. See the MSE Charity for more information.