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Credit union banks on new support

EDINBURGH residents are set to benefit from a new partnership between two community groups.

The link-up between Canmore Housing Association and Gorgie-Dalry Credit Union will make it easier for local people to save money and get access to low-cost loans.

Today (Friday, 15th June), the partnership was welcomed by the local MP Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for the newly-formed Department for Work and Pensions.

He said: “The Government wants to encourage credit unions which will give people more opportunities and options for themselves and their families. Credit unions extend the choices open to people which is why we want to support them”.

This morning Mr Darling attended a ceremony in Canmore’s headquarters in the city’s Dalry Road and met up with representatives from both organisations. He also handed over a giant ‘swipe’ card to Mrs Catherine Logan, a new member of the credit union, who is also a Canmore tenant in the area.

Thanks to the partnership, savers will now be able to make deposits into credit union accounts at any post office using swipe cards. Previously people had to go along to special collection points in the city.

Canmore believes the credit union offers a realistic and viable alternative to local banks and will be actively promoting credit union services to its local tenants and the wider community as well as providing administrative support to the group.

Paul Smith, the chairman of Canmore, said: “The credit union is run by volunteers and is totally different from the average high street bank. It can offer loans at a low rate of interest using the money from members savings. It also welcomes a wide range of people, including those who might not have a bank account or who might have been excluded from getting an account in the past.”

“Membership is open to anyone living in the Gorgie-Dalry area, including our tenants, and we felt it was only right to offer our support. We’re delighted to launch this partnership and hope the credit union goes from strength to strength”.

Credit union secretary Derek Wilkinson said: “Thanks to funding from Canmore we’re launching our new swipe card facility for all our members, allowing them to make payments into their credit union accounts at any post office. The housing association is also helping to publicise the credit union amongst its tenants in the Gorgie-Darly area and the wider community. The association will also help us with book-keeping.”

Mr Wilkinson said the credit union, set up in 1994, now has 140 members. “Anyone who saves with the credit union can apply for a loan for as much as double their level of savings after being a member for 13 weeks. Our interest rates are exceptionally low, so a £500 loan for a year, for example, would cost someone just £28.20 in interest.

“However, there’s more to us than cheap loans. To help us run the service, members receive training in accountancy, administration and secretarial work. And thanks to the help of the housing association we can look forward to extending our service to even more people in the months to come.”

To find out more about the credit union:

Call into a collection point: Better Gorgie/Dalry Campaign base at 258 Dalry Road, Edinburgh (Thursdays, 6.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.)

Fountainbridge Library, Dundee Street, Edinburgh (Saturdays from 10.30 a.m. to 12 noon)

The credit union is open to anyone who lives in the Chesser, Moat, Shandon, Slateford, Hutchison, Gorgie and Dalry areas of Edinburgh. You can e-mail gorgiedalrycu@abcul.org

Alternatively contact Canmore Housing Association for membership information, Tel.: 0131 313 5444

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Canmore Housing Association is a non-profit making body, which has its headquarters in Edinburgh. It manages around 2000 homes for rent and shared ownership in east central Scotland and celebrated its 25th birthday last year. Named after Malcolm Canmore – one of Scotland’s earliest kings – the association has grown steadily, developing homes that adapt and cater for changing needs. The organisation is also innovative, believing that successful and dynamic communities require an imaginative approach to housing development.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Contact Alan Brown, Canmore Housing Association, 193 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2EF, Tel.: 0131 313 5444, Fax: 0131 313 4482 or email: alan.brown@canmore-housing.org.uk

Contact Adrian Mahoney, The PR Store, Tel.: 01506 823714, Mobile: 07967 150560 or email: canmore@theprstore.net

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