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Financial education received two boosts this week - a grant to voluntary organisations and the award of prizes for a schools investment competition using real money.

Financial education received two boosts this week - a grant to voluntary organisations and the award of prizes for a schools investment competition using real money.

EDF Energy Trust said it had awarded over £350,000 to 27 voluntary organisations to help their work in the field of money advice, debt counselling or energy efficiency advice.

The trust, launched last year with a fund of £2m, helps EDF Energy customers struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills as well as organisations that offer money and debt advice. The £350,000 will help increase the provision of money advice, includinggrants for 17 Citizen Advice Bureaux.

Eoin Lees, chair of EDF Energy Trust, said: "The trust has been set up to help people make a fresh start by reducing or clearing their gas and electricity debts so they can concentrate on future bills." EDF Energy's brands include London Energy, SWEB Energy and Seeboard Energy.

Rivington and Blackrod High School in Bolton, Lancashire, has become the first winner of Shares4Schools. It turned £1,500 into £1,714.35, or £1,817.99 after a refund of all dealing commission paid out through the first season of the investment competition, run by the Share Centre. They are allowed to keep the money, and the team will be invited to a tour of the London Stock Exchange on 15 July.

The competition ran from last October. The Share Centre gave 15 schools £750, which was matched by local businesses and parent-teacher associations. Registrations are invited via www.shares4schools.org and close in September. Schools who apply by 25 June will be considered for one of 20 sponsorships, each worth £750, from The Share Centre.

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