To celebrate National Numeracy’s Number Confidence Week taking place from 6–10 November The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Nicholas Lyons hosted a free event at Mansion House this Wednesday to encourage City businesses to take part in the initiative to create numeracy champions all over the city.
The morning get together hosted by The Lord Mayor and facilitated by Sam Sims, CEO of National Numeracy offered insights into National Numeracy’s ‘Every Londoner Counts initiative’ funded by charity partners The Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Guests also heard from Timi Merriman-Johnson, Founder of Mr MoneyJar and National Numeracy Ambassador; Leanne Chandler, a National Numeracy Numeracy Champion from Tower Hamlets trained as part of Every Londoner Counts.
To coincide with Number Confidence Week, the outgoing Lord Mayor Alderman Nicholas Lyons spoke passionately about how numeracy can help transform life for Londoners. The event brought together organisations from across the city to set about boosting the capital’s number know-how through trained ‘numeracy champions’ in the workplace.
Londoners are feeling the full force of the UK’s hidden numeracy crisis with data showing that low numeracy is an issue holding back 3.5 million Londoners from fulfilling their potential.
Over half of Londoners (54%) say they struggle with ‘everyday maths’ and 60% say that having to do maths makes them feel anxious.
It can lead to increased vulnerability to unemployment, debt, fraud, and financial exclusion. It also has a negative effect on the pounds and pence in Londoners’ purses.
The Lord Mayor said: “In London, this a particularly acute problem…and it has real world consequences. It is correlated to lower wages and is the strongest predictor of financial literacy.
“Indeed, the average wage differential of someone in London with low numeracy, as compared to someone who has gained basic numeracy, is nearly £3,000 annually alone.
“Throughout my mayoral year, I have championed the need for financial inclusion and financial education. It is essential to creating a more resilient and equal society that equips and empowers people to make effective financial decisions.”
National Numeracy’s Every Londoner Counts initiative, is helping thousands of Londoners in greatest need to build their confidence and skills, and to develop a positive attitude towards basic numeracy.
The charity trains volunteer Numeracy Champions within businesses, organisations and community groups to then go on to mentor the adults around them. It hopes to establish a network of 500 champions by the end of next year.
Sam Sims, Chief Executive of National Numeracy said: “We are making a lasting change to adult numeracy in London by improving employability and financial inclusion for those who need it most.
“Today we heard what a difference improved numeracy can make. It opens up opportunities and brighter futures. We hope as many London businesses and organisations as possible will join us in making Every Londoner Count.
Also speaking at the Mansion House event was Leanne Chandler, Skills for Life Programme Manager London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Ms Chandler felt anxious about maths throughout her life but stepped out of her comfort zone to train as a ‘numeracy champion’ in order to support her staff in Tower Hamlets.
She said: “Working in partnership with National Numeracy has enabled us to support our staff and residents to feel more confident with numeracy and using numbers in their everyday lives.
“The training has given us tools to have conversations with our learners around their own numeracy skills and confidence and support them to progress in their learning, work, and everyday lives.”
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal aims to find solutions to the most pressing societal issues in the capital and beyond, by creating a city that is inclusive, healthy, skilled and fair. Its ambition is to help one million people thrive through the charities it is supporting, as well as other City-wide initiatives.
Building number confidence will look different for everyone but National Numeracy offers a range of free, confidence boosting resources that can help you get started. They’re available online anytime, so you can go at your own pace.
To find out more about Number Confidence Week visit https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/numberconfidenceweek
To find out more about The Lord Mayor’s Appeal visit https://www.thelordmayorsappeal.org/