Credit now on offer at village halls

CASH strapped residents across North Somerset will soon be able to pop down to their village hall and pay £1.50 to get a low interest loan

CASH strapped residents across North Somerset will soon be able to pop down to their village hall and pay £1.50 to get a low interest loan.Weston and District Credit Union is introducing the system so people living in more rural areas and who cannot get help from a bank will be able to get advice on their debts and borrow some money.The credit union, which offers members the opportunity to save and borrow money, aims to introduce the initiative in every village in North Somerset over the next five years, thanks in part to a £185,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.Volunteers at community centres and village halls in Preanes Green, Banwell and Congresbury have already shown an interest in providing the service.Vice president of the credit union, Mike Davies, said: "We have approached all parish councils to see which villages are interested in the initiative."Where we can put a service point we will."We are in close collaboration with the Citizen's Advice Bureau and so can help people with complex financial problems."Between the two organisations we can arrange a budget structure and help individuals pay their bills."People will be able to turn up at a fixed time once or twice a week."They can then borrow money from someone other than a 'doorstep lender'."It costs £1.50 to join and only individuals can access the services, not companies."Weston and District Credit Union currently has two outlets - at the YMCA in Lower Bristol Road, Weston, and on St Andrew's Parade on the Bournville estate.Members of the union can save together to create a pool of money from which loans are made to other members.After the running costs are met, any surplus can be returned to people who are part of the group in the form of an annual pay-out.


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