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An evaluation of Cash Smart Credit Savvy

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson
Project Duration: 2016-2017

The Church Urban Fund's Cash Smart Credit Savvy project seeks to improve financial capability by offering introductory training around basic budgeting skills and through utilizing existing community links and networks to encourage participation. The use of a cascading model is designed to encourage participants to share knowledge with others and spread important financial capability messages.


Industrial Strategy and the Regions

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2017-2018

This project builds on prior work by CRESR into the government’s industrial strategy. CRESR has been commissioned to build on this work and develop proposals for the Labour Party. The research is covering three main areas: the instruments or industrial strategy and regional policy; the institutions required to deliver the policy; and a series of datasets on sub-national indicators.


Lewisham Borough Trailblazer: Exploring the Causes of Homelessness in Lewisham

Project Director: Dr Sadie Parr
Project Duration: 2017-2018

As part of the Trailblazer objective to reduce homelessness in Lewisham, and to better understand and meet the needs of homeless people, Lewisham Council commissioned the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University to carry out qualitative research exploring the causes of homelessness. This comprised two linked aims. To establish: the causes of homelessness from the homeless person’s perspective; the journeys of homeless people in terms of the services they have used to get help and support.


Apprenticeship Levy and Youth Employment: an opportunity for social investment

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2017-2018

The Apprenticeship Levy came into effect in England in April 2017. It is intended to provide a substantial boost to skills development and to partly address the productivity gap. The government has also announced additional incentives (through Employers NI reductions) to encourage businesses to recruit groups who traditionally struggle to enter sustainable employment.

The combination of these policies potentially provides a social investment opportunity. This research project will explore the interest of employers in utilising government incentives in this area and the interest of third sector organisations in utilising social investment, with the overall goal to support young people find sustainable employment.


Reaching the hardest to reach and highly vulnerable in energy advice and support

Project Director: Aimee Ambrose
Project Duration: 2016-2018

This project will be led by SHU in partnership with Citizens Advice and working with Eon and British Gas as the lead industry partners. It will directly involve (via a Steering Group) 25 representatives from the advice, energy, policy and academic sectors who have never previously been brought together under one initiative. It will also directly engage 40 citizens and potential beneficiaries of the project via two Citizens' Panels.

The UK government is currently carrying out a major overhaul of fuel poverty and energy efficiency policy which is having a profound impact on the advice and energy sectors. Both sectors are expected to be at the forefront of efforts to address fuel poverty and to work together- something they have never done before.

From 2018 onwards, energy companies will be obliged to deliver energy efficiency measures to fuel poor households exclusively. However, the sector has limited experience of identifying, reaching and engaging those most in need of these interventions. There is very little existing knowledge or good practice for either sector to draw on in preparing for the challenges ahead (Ambrose et al, 2016). Acquiring new knowledge on how to successfully engage society's most vulnerable households in energy initiatives will be vital if both sectors are to work together to exploit forthcoming opportunities to engage face to face with every vulnerable and hard to reach household through the smart meter roll-out programme.

The generation of new knowledge, an agreed set of good practice principles and policy recommendations through this project will support the advice and energy sectors and policy makers to meet the challenges ahead. The project will involve an evidence review and primary research with stakeholders and citizens that will yield new insights into what works best for whom and under what circumstances with respect to engaging the most vulnerable and hard to reach.


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