Home > About us > Leadership blogs > Financial inclusion - turning surviving into thriving

Financial inclusion - turning surviving into thriving

September 2023

Teddy Nyahasha

The results of recent research by OneFamily for our annual Inspiring Better Futures Report made difficult reading. 

It found that rising bills have led to young adults struggling to save enough to buy their own home, with six in ten pointing to the increased cost of their weekly shop and a similar number highlighting rising energy prices. Four in ten say that their salaries have not kept track with inflation.

Meanwhile nearly half of those who are over 50 told us that they are anxious about the cost-of-living crisis and a fifth say they don’t have enough money to live on. During the coldest months of the year four in ten were considering switching off their heating altogether, with more than half saying they were worrying about how they were going to pay their bills.

Working families have been hit hard by the increases in Base Rate, with an estimated 1.5 million fixed rate mortgages coming to an end this year just as new deal rates rocket and those in rented homes seeing increased costs being passed on by their landlords.

"As ever, it’s the most vulnerable with the least amount of resilience in their budgets who are suffering the most"

It’s a desperate situation for so many people and it really does make you wonder how on earth we can put things right.

As ever, it’s the most vulnerable with the least amount of resilience in their budgets who are suffering the most.

In the UK there are 24 million adults who have one or more characteristics of vulnerability related to poor health, low financial capability, low financial resilience and significant life events.

And this is where I think businesses like OneFamily have a social responsibility to step in, to support their customers and find ways to provide a steadying hand. That might simply be guidance or sign-posting towards help or it could even be in the design of the products themselves or perhaps direct support with charitable giving and hands-on action such as volunteering.

"We think that financial products should be accessible and affordable for everyone regardless of how much money they have"

One area that we focus on in our Inspiring Better Futures report is financial inclusion. We think that financial products should be accessible and affordable for everyone regardless of how much money they have. As such a lack of financial inclusion has become an ever more pressing problem as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

The complexity and high minimum savings requirements of some investment vehicles exclude smaller savers, which are the accounts that have lower profit margins for financial services companies.

They’re the people who can least afford to lose money, yet they are also the people whose cash savings are being crushed by inflation, whose salaries are being eroded or whose monthly budgets are being blown apart by soaring mortgage payments or rents, food costs and utility bills.

Our junior ISA is one example of how we design products to be financially inclusive – it’s a children’s investment account that is open to everyone, with a low payment of just £10 each month.

It means ordinary families have the opportunity to beat the impact of inflation with long-term investment for their children’s futures.

Similarly, for the 71% of the older generation, who tell us they’ve made no provision for their funerals, we have affordable cover with premiums starting at just £10 a month, giving our customers and their families the peace of mind they need. We’ve also partnered with HoneyPro to provide a free Will service for our members, so they can ensure their final wishes are followed and loved ones are cared for.

"I think it’s important to stand up for our customers, to highlight where exclusion exists and give a voice to the voiceless"

I also think it’s important to stand up for our customers, to highlight where exclusion exists and give a voice to the voiceless. So, we support the young, the disadvantaged and the marginalised to help them towards the futures that they deserve.

We’ve campaigned hard for a change in the law that puts right the unfairness that young people with mental incapacity face when they try to access their child trust fund savings. We’ve significantly raised the profile of this issue, most recently with a piece on the BBC National News and we will continue to lobby for change to happen.

We are also giving charities and local community projects the support they need to help the most vulnerable and marginalised, both financially and by volunteering. I’m especially proud of our new charity partner RedSTART. Its Change the Game research programme will be delivering fun, interactive workshops to school children across the UK to teach them about money.

We believe that access to financial education is the key to future wellbeing, so this truly is financial inclusion in action.

OneFamily is here to do the right thing, to support those who can’t gain the help they need elsewhere. We’re here for our members in times of need - to help them towards the future that they deserve. For us life isn’t about surviving – it’s about thriving.

We’re a mutual, which is a term that’s not always readily understood. But in a nutshell it means we’re a member owned organisation, so we can reinvest our profits for good. I believe that our commitment to doing the right thing by our members and their communities shows that the centuries old values of mutuality still have a place in modern society.

Especially right now.


Teddy is a strong supporter of diversity, inclusion and equality. A passionate believer in social mobility and financial inclusion; he is using his position as CEO of OneFamily to help the young, the disadvantaged and the marginalised to reach beyond their expectations. His view is that everyone in society should have the same opportunities to access financial products – regardless of their wealth.

You may also be interested in:

Charity sets out to get financial education taught in primary schools

OneFamily’s new charity partner, RedSTART, has begun an ambitious research programme to find out how learning about finance in primary school can help people later on in life.

Government responds to child trust fund improved access campaign

We’ve been campaigning for a change in law to make it easier for Child Trust Fund holders who don’t have mental capacity to access their own money.

Government saving scheme offers savings top-ups for people on low incomes

People receiving Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit may be able to claim a savings top-up from the UK government.

Unmarried co-parents can now claim Bereavement Support Payment

A change in law means that, married or not, co-habiting parents can claim up to £9,800 in Bereavement Support if their partner dies.