12 August 2015

Rural partnership begins innovative project tackling financial exclusion


Comic Relief is supporting a new initiative by The Arthur Rank Centre, The Plunkett Foundation and The Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Division to extend access and use of rural credit unions. This innovative project is backed by the Association of British Credit Unions, the Methodist and United Reformed Church, and is likely to see new credit union service points created in rural churches and community buildings nationwide.

Project Consultant, Janet Wilkinson, will be taking the lead on this initiative and working directly with six credit unions across the UK. Janet is the Director of Bristol Credit Union and an experienced project manager with over 15 years' experience in the financial services sector. She will be helping the six credit unions increase their rural membership and develop products suitable for rural people. Her findings will then be shared to enable other groups to establish their own rural service points.

"I'm really excited to be part of this programme," says Janet, "It has the potential to extend the help Credit Unions give to communities and individuals throughout the UK through collaborative partnerships, spreading the word about local and community based finance".

Many imagine rural life to be idyllic, but over 1.3 million people live in poverty, often hidden within predominately wealthy areas, and financial exclusion is commonplace. The latest official research found that around 200,000 rural residents do not have access to a bank account and only one in eight banks or building societies are present in village communities.

The decline in mainstream banking facilities, and the low number of free cash points, has created 'financial service deserts' in many rural areas with residents often turning to payday loans and high-cost credit to fund everyday needs. 

For more information call 024 7685 3060 or email info@germinate.net 


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