Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 10.50.33AN ETHICAL and affordable banking service for the people of Middlesbrough is being supported with a grant of nearly £50,000.

Middlesbrough Council has agreed to give funding to Pioneer Credit Union over a two-year period to support the development of the service.

The aim is that at the end of that time Pioneer – based in Centre North East – will be self-sustaining.

As part of this it has been agreed that service points – of which there are currently 12 across the town – will be increased in number and that financial awareness classes will be delivered to children and young people.

It is hoped that by providing this education it will encourage understanding of the importance of saving and the ability to make informed borrowing decisions as an adult.

Elaine Gilmour, Operations Manager at Pioneer Credit Union, said: “The board and volunteers are really pleased with the support and help from the Council and proud that the credit union has got to this stage.

“Years of hard work have gone into making Pioneer the success and so it is a proud moment that the Council recognises the hard work and wants to give us a helping hand.”

Cllr Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said: “Personal debt and in particular high interest debt is one of the biggest problems people have to face today.

“It is a problem that affects people in all areas of our town and the amounts that can quickly be racked up in debt can be enormous.

“We are delighted to be able to assist Pioneer Credit Union in providing affordable and ethical banking services that are accessible to everyone in Middlesbrough.”

Pioneer Credit Union was formed in 2009 following a merger of smaller Middlesbrough credit unions.

Among the services it offers are savings schemes, low cost loans and Co-op electrical offers. For more information and to find Pioneer’s contact points in the town visit www.pioneercu.org.uk.