Rural partnership begins innovative project tackling financial exclusion


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

Project Consultant, Janet Wilkinson, will be taking the lead onthis initiative and working directly with six credit unions acrossthe UK. Janet is the Director of Bristol Credit Union and anexperienced project manager with over 15 years' experience in thefinancial services sector. She will be helping the six creditunions increase their rural membership and develop productssuitable for rural people. Her findings will then be shared toenable other groups to establish their own rural servicepoints.

"I'm really excited to be part of this programme," says Janet, "Ithas the potential to extend the help Credit Unions give tocommunities and individuals throughout the UK through collaborativepartnerships, spreading the word about local and community basedfinance".

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

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

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