18869Darlington Credit Union is at the vanguard of a scheme to ensure that rural communities have local and easy access to affordable financial services.

It is collaborating with The Arthur Rank Centre, The Plunkett Foundation and The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Division on a project to help credit unions increase their rural membership making savings, loans and financial help available to those in isolate areas.

The initiative will see Darlington Credit Union becoming one of a handful of pilot areas in the UK.  The aim of the project is to establish new Credit Union service points in rural community shops, churches, community centres and/or develop mobile services.

A workshop to help lay the foundations for the pilot scheme is being held at Darlington Credit Union in the town’s Tubwell Row on February 24.  It is open to groups or individuals interested in helping to establish better credit union presence in outlying communities.

Tony Brockley, Darlington Credit Union Chief Executive said; “Having access to a Credit Union can make it easier for people to manage their money.

“While we already are providing an outreach service to Catterick, Richmond, Northallerton and Reeth, we are committed to finding ways of extending this coverage across a wider area.

“We are excited at the opportunity to be part of this pilot to provide more people in rural areas with an easily accessible financial resource and service

“This is a tremendous vote of confidence for Darlington Credit Union and its dedication to providing people with easy access to affordable finance.”

Janet Wilkinson, project consultant, said: “The aim of this project is to help rural communities work together to provide financial services for all through Credit Unions working together with local organisations.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Darlington Credit Union to come up with practical ideas and plans to extend their service points locally.

“Credit Unions are community-based banking organisations providing saving and loans products locally.  They are owned and managed by their members and have a focus on keeping money local.”

Anyone interested in attending the Developing Access to Credit Union in Rural Locations workshop at Darlington Credit Union, on February 24 in the town’s Tubwell Row, should phone Selina Tsang on 01325 529829 or email selina@darlingtoncreditunion.co.uk