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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Date set for new Millom loan branch to open doors

PLANS have been finalised for a system set up to protect hard-up residents from the perils of payday loans.

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‘BEST SOLUTION’ Councillor Denise Burness

Collections will start taking place in Millom next month to allow residents in desperate need of funds to use the Whitehaven and Egremont District Credit Union.

Millom town councillor, Denise Burness, has confirmed the first session for savers will take place on Wednesday, September 4, from 10am until 2pm at Millom Guide Hall.

The plan is for collections to take place every Wednesday, with a Saturday morning session possibly being introduced at a later date.

Cllr Burness said: “We think we’ve managed to do this in record time to avoid people going to payday lenders or loan sharks, so we’re really pleased about that. It means people will be able to save for Christmas.

“We’ve had nothing but support from the union in Whitehaven, and indeed in Barrow as well.”

Millom Credit Union was forced to close in April after a High Court ruling.

It had been the subject of sanctions from the Financial Services Authority after failing to submit its accounts on time – which was blamed on a computer error.

Volunteers who ran the union have not ruled out the possibility of one day re-opening a service specifically for Millom, but say the current system is the ideal stop-gap until that time comes.

Cllr Burness said: “We will be a collection point and we can arrange loans and that kind of thing.

“In the short term, given our circumstances in the past, this is the best we could have hoped for.

“This is the best solution all round to give us the facility very quickly.

“Setting up again would take time and this is the best way to give ourselves that time.”

Cllr Burness said it was important to acknowledge the efforts of Tess Fitzwilliam, who set up the former Millom Credit Union, and all the volunteers involved in both it and the new venture.

She added: “The way it had to close was unfortunate, because it took the focus off that hard work.

“Tess and the volunteers have been dedicated from the word go.”

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