Financial Health Fellowship

In 2017, the Lab partnered with anti-poverty charity Toynbee Hall to support the best innovations for improving financial health.

Why financial health?

1.7 million adults remain unbanked in Britain today. Only 41% of British households are saving, while 12 million people lack access to affordable credit. Financial exclusion damages mental and physical health, undermines social relationships and can affect households’ ability to fulfil basic needs such as food and heating.

Current approaches to tackling these issues often result in products designed from the top down, with a focus on providing access to products that don’t work for the reality of many people’s lives. We supported innovations that work from the bottom up, with a focus on what people need and want, and an understanding of the wider factors that drive financial ill-health. Read our blog to find out more about our understanding of financial health and opportunities for innovation.

Financial Health Fellows

We selected 13 Fellows working on projects that have the potential to support financial health, including flexible financing to support new parents, an app that uses social gamification to encourage saving, a new financial model for social housing and a community bank for London.

The Programme

Running from May to November 2017, Fellows benefitted from monthly business strategy sessions, peer coaching, mentoring, specialist workshops, two residential leadership retreats, a Demo Day – and more. Unlike intensive classroom-based incubators, the Fellowship programme is focussed on action learning, community development and collaborative leadership. The sessions built Fellows’ knowledge of the causes of financial ill-health and confidence in dealing with the wider financial system.

Our Impact

The programme’s independent evaluator, Damon Gibbons (Director, Centre for Responsible Credit), reported that the Fellowship was an outstanding success: both in terms of its content and the method of delivery.

Here’s what some of the Fellows said about their experience:


“For me the Fellowship has been a game-changer. It’s had a huge impact on the way I work, and how I feel about what I’m doing. It was so timely for me to take part, and has been hugely beneficial.”

“This was a brilliant experience in lots of ways – professionally and personally. It was a really supportive group, but I was also pushed out of my comfort zone and my confidence and skills have grown as a result. I also now feel more connected to the bigger picture, having accessed a whole other realm of knowledge about the financial system.”


Our Gratitude

We’re incredibly grateful to members of the Lab’s community, all committed to purposeful financial innovation, who supported the Financial Health Fellowship – including our expert Advisory Group, Mentors, Community Advisors and Guest Speakers.

Our Supporters

We are also extremely grateful to the programme’s supporters – University of Cumbria, Chartered Banker Institute, Friends Provident Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust and NatWest.

Lab Fellowship

Lab Fellowship is our flagship programme developing the leadership capacity and business skills of innovators building a new financial system – one that works for people and planet. In 2016, we also supported 16 Fellows working on financial innovation that put people and planet first.

Find out more about Fellowship 2018-19 here.