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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Barrow credit union to increase access to savings for all

A COMMUNITY savings scheme will offer financial support to the most vulnerable people in society.

The Barrow and District Credit Union opened its doors for the first time yesterday.

People who plan to open accounts or access low-cost savings queued outside the group’s new premises at the Mall as they waited for the union to open.

Plans to bring a credit union to Barrow first started around four years ago, with the study group of volunteers who opened the union forming two and a half years ago.

Chairman Rob Cairns said it was “absolutely brilliant’’ to see the service, which will provide low-cost loans and savings to anyone who lives in the borough, open after years of planning.

He said: “To see the support we have had from so many different people is absolutely brilliant.

“There were people queuing to get in at 11 o’clock. We actually weren’t open on Thursday and were just getting the office ready, but a few people came in and we got them signed up.”

Mr Cairns said the service would help to include those who may not be able to access savings from elsewhere, and would help to keep them away from loansharks or high interest money lenders.

He said: “We hope to involve all the people in the community. Although we want to make the financially excluded become financially included, we hope that those who already have savings accounts will use us, too.”

Deputy leader of the council and credit union board member, Councillor Brendan Sweeney, said the union will help support those most in need.

“The credit union is a big thing for the town, it is for everybody,” he said. “It is a great opportunity for the town to help itself. It is absolutely wonderful to see the amount of support we have been getting.”

Cllr Sweeney said particular thanks must go to members of the Barrow fire service who helped with fitting out the premises.

The union, which is manned by mainly volunteers, will open on weekdays from 11am to 3pm.

One of the first people to sign up was Poole Townsend managing partner Peter Yates, who said the service will boost the town.

He said: “Hopefully the union will prevent people using loan companies and will (instead) turn to the service for help.”

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