PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH SAYS BISHOP
By hrbrsd | Thursday, October 17, 2013, 16:18
The Bishop of Kensington has signed up to join a local credit union to support the Church's bid to tackle payday lenders.
Bishop Williams and Hasina Begom
The Rt Rev'd Paul Williams enrolled at YourCU (Your Credit Union), the first of its kind in Kensington & Chelsea, as part of a church-wide celebration to mark International Credit Union Day.
His visit to YourCU's pop-up branch at Dalgarno Community Centre in North Kensington follows a call to action from the Archbishop of Canterbury for churches to work with credit unions to increase access to local, ethical and affordable financial services.
There are more than an estimated 24,500 'financially excluded' households in the Royal Borough each paying a 'poverty premium' of up to £1,000 each year through higher cost of borrowing, higher bills, additional charges and lack of access to cheaper deals.
"I am very pleased to be joining YourCU as it establishes a real lending alternative that is local, and relational in communities like Dalgarno," said Bishop John, who joins more than 200 YourCU members.
"Faith in Christ compels us to care for those in need not just with our words but also practical action. I would encourage people across the Borough to support this excellent initiative.''
Jonathon Read, YourCU chairman and Earl's Court councillor, said he was delighted Bishop Paul had signed on the dotted line.
"It might surprise people to know that the borough is not uniformly affluent there are significant pockets of deprivation where people are on restricted incomes," said Mr Read.
"These residents will now have access to affordable finance, a bank account, and advice on how to manage their finances.
"It will also provide our better-off residents with the opportunity to invest their money in a venture that will benefit their local community as well as giving them a financial return.
"Come talk to with us about becoming a member, regular saving and great value loans."
Your CU aims to improve the financial services available to people who live and work in the area, particularly those marginalised from affordable banking services and struggling with their household finances.
Bishop Paul's visit follows a call by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, to use the Church to build up Britain's network of credit unions and to 'compete' payday lenders 'out of existence'.
Local priest Rev'd Azariah France-Williams, from St Francis Church, Dalgano, said as a church leader he was pleased to endorse his local credit union.
"We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and affordable loans are a way to ensure a vital community where people's well-being is valued and their ambitions are supported," he said.
The Church of England is marking International Credit Union Day across 30 Dioceses, with over 40 Bishops involved in celebrating the work of more than 50 credit unions serving communities across the country.
A feasibility study by the Octavia Foundation in 2009 identified over 24,500 financially excluded households in the borough, each paying a 'poverty premium' of up to £1,000 each year through higher cost of borrowing, higher bills, additional charges and lack of access to cheaper deals.
By providing affordable options for people to responsibly borrow small levels of credit the report estimates YourCU would see around two thirds of all loans, or approximately £3.5 million, expected to be loaned to financially excluded individuals over the first five years, keeping an estimated £1.8 million within the community.
YourCu covers Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, Queens Park and Kensal Green and St Mary's Park and Queenstown in Wandsworth.
The credit union operates pop up sessions in the Dalgarno Community Centre, Dalgarno Way, every Thursday between noon and 3pm, and at Earls Court Health and Wellbeing Centre, 2b Hogarth Road, every Friday, also between noon and 3pm.
For further information on Your CU visit: www.yourcu.co.uk