Free money skills training offered at Verwood Connect day centre

Clients of the Verwood Connect day centre have been improving their money and independent living skills with the help of the free national numeracy skills programme Multiply, funded by the UK government.

The day centre, which is operated by Care Dorset, offers a diverse programme of activities tailored to support individuals, many of whom have physical or learning difficulties.

Multiply tutor Fiona Rochford is leading a group of around 12 of the day centre’s clients through an eight-week money skills course formed around fun, number-based games, and music – and attendee numbers are growing each week.

Group member Sophia said: “I am learning a lot about adding up my money. When I look into my purse, I know the different coins and how much money I have and that helps me to add them together when I am out shopping.”

“Tracey agreed: “I like the Money Bingo we play because it helps me at Tesco. I also like the shopping songs. I love the music.”

Verwood Connect client Sophia is finding the course is helping with her shopping

Multiply is being delivered by Dorset Council’s Skills and Learning Adult Education service and offers short numeracy-based courses based around everything from supporting children with schoolwork, to help with managing bills, budgeting, and cooking. Since September 2022, more than 1,500 Dorset people have signed up for the free sessions.

Verwood Connect support worker Sam said: “Everyone here is really engaged with the sessions and Fiona is a great tutor. Especially popular is her ‘shopping song’ which she accompanies on her guitar and gets everyone involved with.”

Centre Manager Sue Thorne added: “Maths can be a pretty dry and unappealing subject, but being able to deal with numbers especially in terms of managing money is vital, especially for the people we support.

“One of the many great things about Fiona’s Multiply sessions is that they appeal to a wide range of ages and needs, while not being childish – they are very person-centred.

“Fiona has actually made learning numeracy skills fun and enjoyable and we are already witnessing ways in which the sessions are helping our clients to improve their lives.”

Tutor Fiona said: “Multiply courses all focus on taking the scary out of numbers through relaxed, friendly sessions taught at an easy pace.

“We came into Verwood Connect not really knowing what size the group would be, or the ages or needs of the participants. But we are accustomed to tailoring our sessions to fit the group and everyone is responding well to the current mix of money games and songs.

“It’s a lively, lovely group of people with a lot of enthusiasm and it’s very encouraging to hear that the skills they are learning are already helping them in their everyday lives.”

Multiply Dorset offers courses free to all Dorset and BCP residents aged 19 or above. Courses are available for individuals, schools, businesses, the self-employed, people with special needs or learning disabilities and speakers of English as an additional language.

Verwood Connect clients Stephen and Georgina enjoy the fun number games

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