Financial and Digital Inclusion

By improving the financial and digital capability of the hardest to reach, ROAD helps participants to make small, but life-changing adjustments with an emphasis on progression into economic activity.






Financial & Digital Coach at Citizens Advice County Durham

ROAD’s financial and digital inclusion offer includes the following themes and corresponding activities:

  • My Money: A focus on making the most of people’s money by budgeting and income maximisation, for example through benefits. We also help people to recognise and manage debt, recommending specialist caseworkers if required.
  • My Work: Looking at any evidence of digital and technology barriers to employment, managing and maximising social media and learning job search skills.
  • My Home: Developing the knowledge and understanding so that Participants can secure the best deal on their energy costs, check for eligibility on social water tariffs and ensure that they are getting the best value food for their money.
  • My Community: Helping our Participants to identify how they can use their skills to make a difference to their own communities.
  • My Future: Helping to provide budgeting and setting financial and digital goals, and identifying community courses, activities and groups that can help Participants to further develop their skills.

Courses within these themes are tailored to those with beginner, intermediate and advanced skills to allow Participants to perform self-reviews and set personal targets.

Working alongside Navigators, our offer is delivered by expert Financial & Digital Coaches at easily accessible community venues and delivery sites across County Durham. Coaches have the knowledge base to use existing services, and we have a Financial Crisis caseworker to support urgent debt and money issues for our Participants to help them begin to get back on track.

ROAD Financial & Digital Coaches are:

Carina Smith

Carina has worked in a number of roles at Citizens Advice both as a volunteer, and as an employee. With a rather varied CV, she has experience in everything from being a careers adviser to selling electronic eye massagers! Carina is passionate about helping people gain independence, develop skills and make positive progression. Lastly, Carina love travelling the world and quoting Jim Carrey movies.

Jamie Blackburn – Financial & Digital Coach at Citizens Advice County Durham

Jamie has worked for Citizens Advice for more than 5 years and has a lot of experience in helping people reach their goals and overcome barriers. His favourite part of working for ROAD is looking back over a Participant’s file and seeing the progress they have made. Jamie studied Law, enjoys Opera, and has a collection of over 200 orchid plants.

Nicky Lawrence - Financial & Digital Coach at Pioneering Care Partnership

Born in the North East, but grew up in Africa due to Dad’s job. Worked in hospitality and catering before moving into training. Most recent role was supporting prisoners in HMP Durham to prepare for release by delivering employability skills, training and coaching. Best part about working for ROAD is helping to make a difference to others. I enjoy baking and Rugby Union – watching, not playing!

Janine Williams – Financial & Digital Coach at Durham Christian Partnership

Before working on ROAD, Janine was a Learning and Recruitment Officer for Volunteers at Citizens Advice and also an online IT Tutor. Her favourite element of working on the ROAD Programme is interacting with Participants. Janine’s proudest ROAD moment to date is securing her position as she is able to do what she enjoys the most. After being born in Yarm, Janine grew up in Northern Ireland, after which she moved to Durham where she has lived in a variety of locations.