Media Release: Coalfields grant helps Credit Union boost local services

A £15,000 grant from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust will help Blackburn Seafield and District Credit Union extend its services to more former mining towns and villages in West Lothian.

The Coalfields grant will also help the Credit Union expand its financial education service to ten primary schools and Whitburn Academy.

Joe Thomas, Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “We are delighted to support this project because it does a fantastic job helping families manage their finances, particularly those on low incomes.

“That goes to the heart of one of the Trust’s priorities which is helping to build stronger and safer communities.”

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust’s grant of £15,000 will be matched by funding from Leader and the West Lothian Trust to help the Credit Union expand it’s services over the next two and a half years. The money will be used to hire two part time workers.

Credit Union treasurer, Liam Murphy, said: “We are facing a big upsurge in demand for our services, partly because of the recession and partly because the banking crisis has made people shop around.

“Interest has also been generated by the financial education talks delivered by the West Lothian Credit Union Forum to primary and secondary school pupils as well as the School Saving Schemes we operate in ten primary schools and in Whitburn Academy.

“But at the moment it can be difficult for people in places like Armadale, Fauldhouse, Stoneyburn, Whitburn and West Calder to use our services.

“A bus fare from some of these places to Blackburn and back will cost around £3, which doesn’t make too much sense if all you want to do is pay in a tenner. We believe in taking the Credit Union to the people through operating local services.”

Liam added: “We are really indebted to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust for their support for this project and for an earlier grant to improve our IT resources and an electronic payment system so that people can make payments with their debit cards.”


Note to Editors:

1.    The Coalfields Regeneration Trust was formed in 1999 to help mining communities recover from the devastating effects of pit closures.  Since then the Trust has spent over £15m in Scotland supporting over 500 community-based and job creation projects in the hardest hit areas.

2.    For more information on the Coalfields Regeneration Trust go to:

3.    Blackburn, Seafield & District Credit Union has been registered as a credit union since September 1994 and has grown to over 1990 members and 920 junior savings accounts, with savings of £1.2 million. The Credit Union has lent out £3.25 million to its members since 1994.

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