May 24 2013 Latest news:
Friday, January 18, 2013
A NEW credit union opens for business in Wisbech next week, offering people struggling to make ends meet a safe alternative to loan sharks and doorstep lenders.
Wisbech Savers is the newest branch of the Rainbow Saver Anglia credit union.
From Monday it will be opening two collection points in the town once a week to enable people to join up and deposit savings. Once they have been members for 13 weeks they will become eligible for small loans at low interest rates.
One of the collection points will be at the Oasis Centre every Monday (2-4pm). The other will be at the Rosmini Centre on Tuesdays (2-4pm). They will be manned by about 25 volunteers who have undergone special training this month.
Sally Chicken, from Rainbow Savers, who led the training, said: “We’re delighted with the enthusiastic response we’ve had. We had 22 people come along to our first session – that’s a record number of volunteers coming forward in one town for a launch.
“It was heartening to see so many people keen to provide savings and loans facilities at the two community centres. They were concerned at the lack of availability of fair credit locally, as well as illegal loansharks, and were keen to get on with offering the fair credit union alternative.”
Councillor Kit Owen, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder responsible for localism, said: “This will give people who may be in desperate straits a good way of dealing with their money problems that does not involve resorting to desperate measures or paying unacceptable levels of interest.”
Wisbech Savers has the strong support of Fenland councillors Simon King, David Hodgson and Virginia and Michael Bucknor, who are among the volunteers who will be running the collection points. It also has the backing of Roddons Housing Association.
Cllr King said: “Wisbech Savers is a great initiative and we will also be encouraging junior credit unions in schools so that young people can catch the saving habit early.”
One of the credit union’s aims will be to help people who have difficulty opening a bank account, including migrant workers who have recently arrived in the area.
Aigars Balsevics, another of the volunteers, said: “This will be very good in helping people to save money and stopping them from having to go to loan sharks and other moneylenders.
“There are so many people who live in HMOs [houses of multiple occupation], for example, who can’t get bank accounts, so for them it is very important. I feel very passionate about supporting this.”
• For more details, call Ross McGivern, senior community support officer at FDC, on 01354 654321 or e-mail email@example.com or Annette Houghton at Fenland Volunteer Centre on 01945 582192, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org