March 2024

Families First News

Difference we're making

Money Advice Unit Project ‘highly commended’ in national awards

In April 2023, the Money Advice Unit commenced a pilot project providing benefits advice via the Enhanced Primary Care Mental Health Service. It was partly inspired by the survey work done by Healthwatch Hertfordshire on the mental health impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

As a result, Healthwatch submitted the initial results of the project to the National Healthwatch Awards, held in March this year. The Hertfordshire MAU project was a highly-commended runner-up. This is quite an achievement, as this award covered all Healthwatch teams in England for any of their work over the last 10 years.

As well as showing solid and impressive figures of ‘benefits gained’, a video co-produced by Healthwatch, HPFT and the MAU showed ‘Paul’s story’. This was especially well received, with feedback being that it was a powerful example of the impact of good benefits advice on an individual’s life.

Some of the compliments received from Healthwatch England were:

  • Excellent work from Healthwatch Hertfordshire which also provided significant insight for nationally influencing work we have done on cost of living (Louise Ansari, Chief Executive, Healthwatch England)
  • You have powerfully demonstrated the point that once someone such as Paul falls outside the system's comfort zone, it is just impossible for people, without the help of the Money Advice Unit, to stop the spiralling down of their health and wellbeing - such a vivid example! (Professor David Croisdale-Appleby, Chair of Healthwatch England)

Healthwatch Hertfordshire are showcasing the work in their annual report, which will be published at the end of June and it is also featured on Healthwatch England’s Annual Report to Parliament (page 39) which has just been published. 20240314 HWE Annual report & Accounts 2022_23 FINAL_0.pdf (

Unfortunately, despite reaching 377 people in its first 11 months, and achieving benefit gains for them (so far – more results are expected) of £725,000, the project has now effectively ended as no further funding is available.


No comments have been left for this article

Have your say...

Your name will be published alongside your comment but we will not publish your email address.

All comments will be reviewed by a moderator before being published.

Please ensure you complete all fields marked as mandatory.