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Welcome (Credit Union) welcomes the Leader
Wednesday 24th March, 2010

Welcome (Credit Union) welcomes the Leader
Diane Schanzl and Donna Watmough from Welcome, with Lord Peter Smith, centre.

Welcome Credit Union has hit the jackpot!

A new grant from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust has just been agreed to help people in Wigan. Help is now available for those struggling with debt, or for those who are finding life difficult because of unemployment or a drastic change in their circumstances.

Wigan Council leader Lord Peter Smith called in to the Whelley based group to discuss their role in supporting communities during the current difficult economic conditions. Cllr Smith congratulated staff for their success gaining extra qualifications for their work.

Donna Watmough, Welcome’s deputy manager, says: “This new funding will enable debt advice to be given on a one to one confidential basis for those who need information and guidance. There are also regular money skills events for anyone who wants to know more about managing their money.”

Welcome is one of a number of similar credit unions who exist to help people about financial concerns. Members have an account to save a small amount each month and can obtain a loan from them at an affordable rate of interest.

Officers there are holding events in Leigh and Wigan, and working with partners such as the council, Leisure and Culture Trust, Citizens Advice and Inspire to Independence to take financial advice out into the community.

Wigan Citizens Advice Bureau manager Chris Harris says: “We estimate that about 25,000 households in Wigan Borough are in some sort of financial difficulty. Our records show that we have helped about 4,000 of them, which means that there are about 21,000 households that may need help. So we are glad to be involved with this debt advice project, working with Welcome Credit Union.”

Also working with Welcome is Age Concern. Their Chief Executive John McArdle adds that ensuring people get access to reliable and safe loans is essential: “Working together, we can help to drive loan sharks out of peoples’ lives and help support people who often face very difficult money problems. As an organisation, we are keen to develop the partnership more in coming months and years.”

Cllr Smith visited the offices off Moore Street East and adds: “Modern credit unions are professional and sophisticated organisations. I’d like to personally congratulate Donna and Diane for their NVQ success – a great demonstration of the high standards of care and support customers can expect from today’s credit unions.”

More information on Welcome Credit Union at welcomecreditunion.co.uk or on 01942 828702.

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