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First Dorset Credit Union are here to help
‘WE are here to help’ – that is the message from the First Dorset Credit Union as more people think to the future in the economic downturn.
The team at the Dorchester-based service point, which is made up of volunteers, want more people to know about what they do and how they can help.
President Rosemary Britten said: “Our biggest push is to make people understand that we are here.
“We are not just here for people in poverty but for the wider community.”
The First Dorset Credit Union can create savings accounts for people who may have difficulty setting up a bank account because of debt problems or other financial issues.
The Credit Union is even looking to set up a service point in Wareham, but is keen to know if there is a strong interest in the area.
Secretary Brian Parkhurst said: “People still need to be convinced of our ability to help. We still need to expand our service within Dorset. We have around £400,000 available to loan but we need to find people who we are prepared to loan money to. The money is our member’s money which we recycle.
“We find that more people are looking to save for the future in the economic downturn– which means we have more funds available to loan out.”
He added: “It is very important that people come to us if they are in financial difficulty before they are at the point of no return.
“There does come a time where they are looking to attend to their financial problems but it is too late for us to help them. We can help you if you come to us in time.”
Mr Parkhurst has backed the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby who slammed payday lenders – that charge 5000 per cent APR for a few days of loan cash.
He said: “We are grateful to the Archbishop for the leadership he is showing by making the need plain for all to see.”
The Dorchester branch, on High East Street, is made up of 25 volunteers, one full time member of staff and three or four part time staff.
FDCU have had 50 per cent more loan applications in May, June and July compared to the same period last year.
Member numbers have risen from 1,865 on September 30, 2009, to 2,012 on the same day in 2012, while a total of 159 more loans were made last year.
The Dorchester-based service point has been active since 1999 and the team said they attract around 40 new members a month.
Volunteer time to help
The team at Dorchester is looking for volunteers to help.
Tasks include helping people set up a bank account or directing people to the local Job Club to help them find work.
Duties could include filing loan documents, answering the telephone and explaining loan procedures.
Not all activities need to be away from home.
At present there are 13 service points across the county, for more information visit firstdorsetcreditunion.co.uk.
For more information or express interest in a Wareham service point contact 01305 268444 or 268993.
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