New Year Honours: Stratford social entrepreneurs 'humbled' by MBEs

Money A+E co-founder and chief executive Jerry During leading a workshop with young people around a table

Money A+E co-founder and chief executive Jerry During leading a workshop - Credit: Money A+E

Two Newham social entrepreneurs were made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBEs) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Money A+E co-founders Gregory Ashby and Jerry During say they are “honoured” to have been awarded MBEs for services to disadvantaged people and social enterprise.

Their Stratford-based social enterprise - founded in 2011 - aims to build the financial resilience of diverse ethnic communities, disadvantaged groups and young people.

Money A+E director of operations Greg Ashby

Money A+E director of operations Greg Ashby - Credit: Money A+E

Mr Ashby, who is Money A+E director of operations, felt "truly honoured and humbled” by the MBE.

He said: “I thank God, my wife, family and congratulate the whole Money A+E team and community, whose hard work and collective effort this award represents.

“We were inspired to create Money A+E by the strength that we see in our communities every day.

“When we have access to expert advice, and this is combined with support from our peers, we can overcome even the most challenging money problems.”

Money A+E provides a free, one-to-one debt, benefits and money advice service; and money management workshops.

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In 2021, Money A+E reached 1,629 people, supporting individuals to manage £2.7 million worth of debt and putting £526,000 back into the pockets of those struggling financially.

Mr During, who is chief executive, said: “I am beyond words to express how honoured and happy I am to receive an MBE.

“We are delighted that the importance of money advice and education has been recognised in this way, and its ability to tackle poverty, mental health and inclusion and create confident, empowered individuals and communities.

“We plan to build on this amazing recognition, especially in building the financial resilience and employment opportunities of young people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.”

The pair, who grew up in Newham, were inspired to set up Money A+E by their own experiences of debt and social barriers.

When Mr During was 16, his father amassed large amounts of credit card debt to maintain household bills after being made redundant.

Mr Ashby’s first experienced serious financial crisis when his small business failed and he was left with thousands of pounds of personal debt.

These experiences motivated them to become money advisers in east London, a calling which has seen the pair recognised by the Queen.