Banbridge budget-busting team impresses judges

YOUNG people from Banbridge are celebrating success after impressing judges to reach the Northern Ireland Final of the Money for Life Challenge, a new national competition designed to inspire everyone to improve their money management skills.

The group from People First set up their innovative project, called Budget Busters, when they were awarded a £500 grant from Money for Life to put their ideas into action earlier this year.

Since then the young people have been proving their credentials as money saving experts by hosting a live fashion show to model clothing for young people attending job interviews who are not able to spend a lot of money given they are not yet earning.

The team’s ingenuity stretched to approaching local stores in the Banbridge District, convincing them to provide them with outfits to showcase at the fashion show and donate raffle prizes to their charity draw.

Eighteen-year-old Gemma McGrath, team leader of ‘Budget Busters’, said she is proud of the efforts made by all those involved.

“We decided to work with 16-24 year olds who are school leavers, jobseekers and graduates as these people would be most interested in gaining and learning information about shopping on a budget.

“I am so proud of all the time and effort that everyone put into the fashion show, it was organised really well and all the hard work paid off on the night. Everyone was impressed with our accomplishment.”

Budget Busters join a shortlist of five Northern Irish teams whose projects have shown the Money for Life Challenge judges that they have what it takes to improve not just their own money management skills, but those of their friends, families and even their local communities.

The shortlist has been selected from over 110 Money for Life Challenge entries across the UK. The Northern Ireland Final takes place at Stormont Hotel, Belfast on Tuesday April 17, where each team will present their money management projects to a panel of high-profile judges.

The winner of the Northern Ireland Final will go through to the UK Grand Final in London on May 23, where teams have a chance of winning £2,500 for a charity of their choice, £100 of Bonus Bonds for each member and a Lloyds Banking Group mentor.

The team’s sponsor, Lauren Hillis, an Employability Tutor at People First, Banbridge said, “I’m really proud of the Budget Busters. The skills they have taken away from this are better than any lesson I would have taught in the classroom. They have now shown themselves to be young entrepreneurs in the Banbridge District.”