The Diocese of Bath & Wells is delighted to announce that its main credit union partner, Somerset Savings and Loans (SSL) has received over £250,000 of savings from local churches and church sources in just 16 months.
David Maggs, Social Justice and Environment Officer at the diocese, who oversees the partnership and the diocese’s links with other credit unions says, “Last year we started promoting saving with SSL to our churches and church members and we’re delighted this has now borne fruit.
“The main priority now is to connect, through our outreach activities, with those who need the loans, encouraging them to contact SSL rather than get into trouble with high interest payday loans or credit cards.”
The news comes as Archbishop Justin Welby launches the new #TOYOURCREDIT website (www.toyourcredit.org.uk). The site is part of the Archbishop’s initiative to ensure a fairer financial system that serves the whole community.
Welcoming the initiative and the work of the Archbishop’s Task Group on Responsible Savings, David Maggs adds, “The clear message from To Your Credit is that this is not an optional activity, but a fundamental part of our Christian witness and service. That supporting people to have better financial futures is a core activity of the Church of England both locally and nationally.”
Looking to the future, the Diocese of Bath and Wells and Somerset Savings and Loans aim to:
- Promote payroll deduction schemes with employers for both savings and loans (the latter will offer lower than standard interest rates).
- Focus on connecting with people who need the loans that will utilise the savings made by churches and other members. This will include communicating with key parishes and more broadly with church members and those involved in social action and outreach activities.
- Recruit and train Community Finance champions in each area.
- Begin conversations with interested local schools about school savings clubs, in light of the plans from the Archbishop’s Task Group.
The diocese has links with several credit unions in our area. The partnership has been set up with Somerset Savings and Loans as it covers the whole of the Diocese.
- The SSL website is: http://www.somersetsavingsandloans.org.uk/
- The Diocese has its own Diocesan Task Force and is developing a roadshow to take to various meetings and events. Early success has led to two churches being interested in creating an access point for Credit Unions as part of other activities.
- These plans model an existing ecumenical venture in Highbridge.