The Bishop of Bolton, Rt Rev Chris Edmondson and a local actress take a bus journey around Greater Manchester, visiting local credit unions and exploring the reasons why people become credit union members, in a short film produced by Manchester Diocese.
This is just one of the innovative ways in which Manchester Diocese have been promoting and supporting local credit unions. Diocesan Director of Church and Society, Debbie Dalby worked with a local PR company to produce ‘tool kits’ funded by the diocese and personalised with the name of each diocesan church and their local credit union.
These personalised resources were made possible by another member of the diocesan team who mapped every parish and credit union in the diocese to make the ‘match making’ service possible. Additionally, the diocesan offices also host a regular meeting of credit union mangers. Debbie explains:
"We have been so lucky to be able to come together with the leaders of our local credit unions in Greater Manchester to share ideas and joint activity - with so many people facing real hardship, especially families dealing with financial difficulty, it is great for people within churches to know that tangible solutions and more sustainable approaches do exist."
South Manchester Credit Union has had close links with local churches since it started in 2000. Whilst continuing to run collection points in the community, in 2012 the credit union office moved into a high street shop front and continues to grow and develop: Director and founder member, Robert Lock writes,
"Over the last few months we have been in discussions with the churches about developing ways for our financial services to be more accessible to the full range of people who make up the diverse community in our common bond, e.g. through an internet cafe in a local church. Partnerships with churches, and other organisations have been an essential element in our success to date and we look forward to developing these further so that together we can support and strengthen the local communities of South Manchester."
As seen in the photos below, Diocesan Bishops and other staff have also joined their local credit unions, with the Diocese funding specialised public advertising in the run up to Christmas 2013 challenging the perceived need to take out pay day loans in order to make ends meet over the Christmas period.
The Bishop of Manchester, Rt Rev David Walker says:
"Credit unions are responsible, ethical and competitive which makes them the ideal consideration for people in the region looking to save or borrow money. But credit unions should be seen as more than just a response to predatory pay day lenders with exorbitant interest rates. They are a community - focused alternative way of managing your finances that as a region we should be proud to support."
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