The clergy team of the oldest church in the City of London has taken the challenge set by Archbishop Justin Welby to promote the work and benefits of credit unions in the nation’s financial centre.

The Rev’d Sophia Acland, associate priest of All Hallows by the Tower, was appointed with a brief including specifically to develop the relationship with the City’s corporate institutions.  Since her appointment in October 2014 she has made a wide range of useful contacts in the City. 

All Hallows by the Tower is the oldest church in the City of London, and sits between the affluence of the City of London and areas of deprivation in Tower Hamlets on its east side.  Only a hundred people actually live in the parish, but during the week around 50,000 commute into the area for work and are joined by the thousands of tourists visiting the Tower of London and surrounding sites.

The church has been involved with the Tower Hamlets Foodbank from its beginning, and now Sophia has been discussing with local companies how they could support credit unions in three areas:

·         Promoting the products and services offered by credit unions to employees, including those working for outsourced companies and those based regionally across the country who may be lower paid

·         Setting up payroll savings schemes with credit unions

·         Encouraging employees with specific professional skills and experience to volunteer with the credit union

“There is recognition among people in the City that things have not been easy since the financial crisis of 2008 and there is definitely a will to make a difference and to promote financial inclusion. Although changing minds about investment options is not easy, we have been encouraged by the discussions that Sophia and I have been able to have so far, even though we know that there are plenty of hurdles too." Rev’d Bertrand Olivier, Vicar of All Hallows

The next step is to bring together London Capital Credit Union, one of the three credit unions serving the City, with representatives of locally-based companies at a breakfast meeting on 15th May.

London Capital already has some City links: the City of London Corporation has a payroll savings scheme with them and law firm Linklaters are among their corporate members.  The meeting, which aims to create a dialogue and a way forward between City corporates and the credit union, will be opened by Sir Hector Sants, chair of the Archbishop’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings. If you are City based and interested in attending please contact Sophia: sophia@ahbtt.org.uk

 


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