Cost of Living Crisis Hackathon

Cost of Living Crisis Hackathon

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35 Gresse Street



United Kingdom

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What can innovators in finance + tech do to help stop the Cost of Living squeeze and alleviate pressure on low income and vulnerable groups?

About this event

According to the Office for National Statistics, 87% of adults in the UK reported an increase in their cost of living in April 2022. This crisis is hitting low-income families the hardest, many of whom now have to choose between heating or eating.

Sadly it looks like the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. The Cost of Living crisis is already turning into a cost of credit crisis, with millions now reaching for credit cards, loans and Buy Now Pay Later to pay for essential bills and groceries. Soon we’ll inevitably be looking at a full-blown cost of debt crisis, right at the time that access to debt advice is waning due to funding cuts.

For charities and others for whom cost might be a barrier to attending, we can help organise free tickets – please get in touch with us through

About our event

On Friday 24th June we are hosting a day-long ‘hackathon’ event, bringing together people from different backgrounds to come up with tech-focused ideas to help alleviate pressure around the Cost of Living crisis.

We’re inviting people from tech companies and ‘Fintechs’ as well as charities, social impact organisations and experts by experience. On the day you’ll be hearing different perspectives than your own, and working in a cross-organisation team to come up with potential solutions.

It should be a fun and interesting day!

We think you’ll get lots out of the event, including:

  • Meet experts and consumer champions on the front line of tackling the Cost of Living crisis.
  • Meet others working in this space and spark ideas about how to use tech and design for good.
  • Post-hackathon networking with food and drinks.
  • Your ticket price will be donated to charities helping those struggling with the Cost of Living crisis.

You can find more information on the agenda and FAQs below.

We are committed to making this an inclusive and accessible event. If you require step-free access or have other access needs, please let us know during checkout. If you would like to attend but find ticket costs a barrier, please email

On the day

If you’ve not been to a ‘hackathon’ before, we’re here to answer your questions and help you get the most out of the event. On the day, we’ll follow a rough agenda as follows:

  • 9:30 Welcome: Introduction to the day and outlining the challenge themes.
  • 10:00 Expert talks: Short talks from experts on the front line of the Cost of Living crisis.
  • 10:30 Team formation and pitches: We’ll help people form teams around ideas.
  • 11:00 Working on ideas: Teams can work together in breakout areas.
  • 12:30 Buffet lunch available.
  • 15:00 Pitches and demos: We’ll introduce the judging panel and hear feedback on team ideas.
  • 17:00 Wrap up: Pizza and drinks available for anyone who wants to stay and chat after the event.

Challenge themes

We’ll encourage teams to form to come up with a concept to pitch based on one of the following challenges, all centred around the Cost of Living crisis.

1. Maximising income

We know that people can’t budget their way out of poverty. But there might be ways to use tech and good design to help people increase their income, for example by discovering that they are entitled to benefits they are not receiving.

Our first challenge to event-goers is to come up with concepts to help people maximise their income.

Some questions to get you thinking:

  • How might we close the gap on the £15bn of unclaimed benefits?
  • How might we find new ways of generating income that are accessible to people in poverty?
  • How might we help people discover and apply for grants and other new sources of income?

2. Infrastructure and data for charities and non-profits

Charities and non-profits are on the front line, already working with those who need the most help. How might we help these organisations take advantage of all the great innovation and data that’s available so they can be more efficient and deliver their services to more people?

Our second challenge to event-goers is to come up with concepts using tech or data that could help charities or non-profits working on the front line.

Some questions to get you thinking:

  • How might we help non-profits take advantage of innovation and data that’s available to commercial tech and fintech companies?
  • How might we make data sources like Open Banking affordable for charities and non-profits?
  • How might we use technology to help charities provide better interventions when it comes to debt?

3. Targeted marketing and signposting

We notice that there are lots of potentially helpful products, services and resources out there already – but often they don’t get in front of those that need help the most. Financial services and tech also suffer from a lack of trust, particularly from lower income and marginalised groups – how might marketing improve that so that we can reach those we want to help?

Our third challenge to event-goers is to come up with concepts to help get potentially useful products, services and resources in front of people who could use them.

Some questions to get you thinking:

  • How might we help local services and credit unions promote their services in an efficient way?
  • How might we use employers and other channels to reach people and tell them about useful services?
  • How might we help existing customers with relevant signposting before they get into difficulties?

4. Wildcard category

If you have an idea you’d like to work on that’s relevant to the Cost of Living crisis and could do with input from tech and financial services experts, we welcome you to bring it to the table even if it doesn’t fit within our first three categories. All we ask is that you bring ideas that could be relevant to helping those on the lowest incomes.


Well done for reading this far – we hope you’re ready to sign up for our event! If not, here are some answers to commonly asked questions. If your question isn’t listed, feel free to get in touch with us through

Where is the event?

We’re being hosted by Wagestream, whose lovely offices are in central London – ​​35 Gresse St, London W1T 1QY (nearest tube station is Tottenham Court Road).

What is a hackathon?

A typical hackathon is an informal social event that brings together tech workers (developers, designers and others) to work on new or existing ideas together. A hackathon could last anywhere between a day and a week. Teams at hackathons might be anywhere between 2 and 12 people, and they will spend their time working towards a demo or a pitch of their work at the end of the event.

We understand that you might have never been to a hackathon day before – that’s OK! We are using the hackathon format so that people get the chance to work on new ideas with people they wouldn’t normally work with.

Do I need to be able to code?

Not at all. The teams we form on the day will be working on concepts rather than actual software (although if you want to try to code something we won’t stop you!). We’ll ask each team to pitch and explain their concept at the end of the day.

Do I need to form a team ahead of time?

No. You are welcome to do so, but we plan on helping people form teams during our morning session.

What are you expecting to see in each team’s pitch / demo?

There is no right or wrong way to pitch or demo your team’s concept. Some teams may have basic prototypes or website designs to demonstrate their ideas, others might rely on a slide deck or similar, or even a diagram or bullet points drawn on flip chart paper. Depending on the number of teams that form on the day we are expecting teams to have between 5-10 minutes to present.

The important thing on the day is to spark ideas by sharing your knowledge and skills, and to have fun. Please don’t be put off coming to the event by the pressure of having to pitch a perfect solution – that’s not what this is about!

What sort of people / skills should come along?

We welcome everyone who wants to join, including students and those who are early on in their career.

However, we have set the event up with the following people in mind: charity workers, consumer champions, developers, data scientists, designers, analysts and tech founders. Basically, if you either work for a non-profit organisation related to the Cost of Living crisis, work with a large population of employees who are impacted by the Cost of Living crisis, or work in the tech industry, we’d love for you to come.

Can I come by myself?

Yes, we’d love for you to join us. Feel free to sign up as an individual.

Is this a Wagestream event?

No – this event is about the cost of living crisis and we're looking for a wide range of concepts that any organisation could potentially implement. The ideas don't need to be about Wagestream, although Wagestream are generously supporting the event by providing their offices to host the event in central London. They will also be providing drinks, snacks, a buffet lunch and pizza to end the day. Thanks Wagestream!

We are looking forward to welcoming attendees from many other tech companies, ‘fintechs’ and charities/consumer groups. Already we’ve got Snoop signed up, Life Moments, Ride Tandem, Christians Against Poverty and Fair 4 All Finance, with many more to come.

How much is it to join, and why are you charging for tickets?

We are charging for tickets to encourage you and your team to commit to coming to the event. We’ve found that inviting people to come for free can result in lots of people dropping out at the last minute, and ideally we need to know who’s coming so we can plan properly.

All the money taken to pay for tickets will be donated directly to the charities participating in the event, so your money will go onto help those affected by the Cost of Living crisis.

Ticket prices vary according to your company size. For individuals and those from small companies (fewer than 50 employees), the price is £35. For participants that are representing an organisation with 51-100 employees, each ticket costs £50. And for larger businesses the cost is £65 per ticket.

If you would like to come but cost is a barrier, please get in touch with us through We will find a way for you to come.

Are you offering any free tickets?

Yes. For charities and others for whom cost might be a barrier to attending, we can help organise free tickets – please get in touch with us through

Is there a remote option?

Unfortunately not. We have decided to run this event in person at Wagestream’s offices in central London, and to keep the logistics as manageable as possible we will not be allowing for remote participation on the day.

However, we will be recording the talks and pitches/demos, and will circulate a write up of what we got up to with anyone who wasn’t able to take part. Let us know if you would like to be included on this list.

I’m coming! What should I bring with me?

Just you and your wonderful brain! You can also bring your laptop or tablet (and charger) if you want to work digitally during the day.

Wagestream are kindly supplying stationery such as post-its, flip chart paper and pens, so if you’d rather come without a laptop, that should also be fine.

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