GWCU and UoB share success following the Family Saver pilot

We partnered with University of Bristol to pilot the Family Saver. Here is what we learned.

Great Western Credit Union (GWCU) and the University of Bristol have shared findings from the pilot of the Family Saver, a product that helps mothers save money directly from their child benefit payments. Members can control how much they would like to save and when and they can withdraw money at any time. This is provided they call or send GWCU a message through the portal to take out finances, therefore creating an access barrier.

This follows GWCU and four community researchers, all mothers themselves, from the University of Bristol teaming up in 2022 - 2023 to explore the financial lives of mothers and how to support them better. The first phase of research saw 16 mothers interviewed, which uncovered the outsized responsibility mothers regularly carry to manage their household’s finances, the gap in products and services especially designed to help them control this, and the lack of discussions around finances between mothers, mothers and their partners, and mothers and financial establishments. Following a series of workshops, the team agreed to focus on making saving easier. They then presented their final prototype, the Family Saver in March 2023. 

The pilot was launched three months later for those on the existing Family Finance Plan, where 17 members enrolled, typically mothers in their 30s - 40s with anything between one and six children. Surveys at the beginning of the pilot showed that seven members had signed up as they had trust in GWCU and liked the ease of setting up savings, whilst believing that the access barrier would help them to save. Within seven months, all 17 members had continued to save, putting away on average £5 a week and £38.32 in total. Eight members had made one or more withdrawals, typically at the end of August and the start of September around when schools reopened, while the others kept all their savings. 

James Berry, CEO of Great Western Credit Union, said: 

“Helping members build their savings has always been a fundamental part of GWCU’s approach in delivering our services and this pilot has given us a great opportunity to reach a group who have often struggled to find a way to save. Building from the bottom-up with community researchers who are themselves mothers has really added something fundamental too, as this approach has benefited the researchers in building new skills and meant the product really works for users.”

Following its success, GWCU is maintaining the pilot to ensure that participants can keep saving. Furthermore, there are plans to roll this out to more members over the next 12 months. Read the whole report here

To talk to a member of our team about our saving services, contact us on 0117 924 7309 or email

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Posted on
16 April 2024