Wednesday, 3 June 2015

It's National Volunteer Week!

Hat's off to our volunteers
My notes have a distinct volunteering flavour this week as we are celebrating National Volunteer Week  Credit Unions rely on volunteer effort to reach into communities that it just wouldn't be possible to serve otherwise.   I'd like to pay tribute to everyone who volunteers with us and helps to make HEYCU the strong "family" that it has become today.

Welcome to new director
A warm welcome to Kate Pike, who has joined our Board of Directors as a co-opted representative from Northern Lincolnshire Branch to serve until the AGM in December.  Kate was the Secretary of North Lincolnshire CU before it merged in April.   Credit unions are of course unique as financial businesses for having an entirely voluntary (but nevertheless well trained) Board of Directors.

Community Volunteering Road Show 2015
East Riding of Yorkshire Council and ERVAS (the volunteer agency) are hosting a Community and Volunteering Road Show this month, visiting towns across the county to promote community volunteering.  We’ll have a presence at the Goole roadshow at Boothferry precinct (near the library) on Thursday 4 June, so if you are in the area do pop along and say hello.

Driffield Tenth Anniversary
It scarcely seems possible but ten years have slipped by since a group of community-minded Driffield folk approached us about starting a credit union in the town. Several of them still actively volunteer at the HEYCU Driffield Branch that their efforts brought to life, and do so with great success.  Plans are afoot to mark the 10th anniversary in September but, for now, congratulations to them all.

Winterton 2022
We have started working with a new group, Winterton 2022.  A community of 5,000 people to the north of Scunthorpe, Winterton has been awarded £1 million of Big Lottery funding to improve the town.  On 1st June we met to start planning for credit union services, including school banks and a local contact point, as part of this project.  Two of our active volunteers - David and Kate - ran a stall at Winterton Street Party on bank holiday Monday, to meet local residents, so who knows, this might be our next "Driffield"!

Pennies 2 Pounds update
Remember our Tour de Yorkshire competition for the schools?   I am pleased to announce that the overall winner was Charlie Ivens of Northfield Infants School at Driffield.  Well done to Charlie, who wins a box of cycling-related goodies, and thanks to everyone who entered.
We're just finalising our Pennies 2 Pounds Summer Term competition which will have different challenges for KS1 and KS2 pupils and there will be gift vouchers and savings deposits to be won!   Details from P2P volunteers or on our website shortly.
Carmel (East Riding Project Officer) attended an event at Bishop Burton College designed to foster independence as the students prepare to leave college.  She enjoyed meeting them and, as always, some good links were made.
We are delighted that Patrington Primary School in Holderness are opening their school bank on Thursday 11 June with St Marks Pre-School at Anlaby soon after, on Friday 12 June.

Volunteer Training
There's a new training course on our website Volunteers page which we hope our volunteers will be tempted to sample!   It's called A Credit Union Member - more than just a Customer, and explains what the CU difference really means.  Volunteers can take the course in their own time, in the comfort of their own home, although group sessions can be arranged at branches if desired.  After completing the course, you can download a short quiz, fill it in and either post or email it to We will give you some feedback and send you a nice certificate to recognise your efforts.    There's a course on Data Security on there too.  

Hull City of Culture 2017
Last Thursday I followed the crowd from the local business community thronging into Hull Truck Theatre to hear an update from Martin Green, the Chief Executive of Hull City of Culture 2017.  Martin and his team are busy developing an exciting four-season themed programme of events, which should not only thrill and enthuse the people of our great city but also attract many thousands of visitors to explore this part of the world for the first time.  An impromptu speech by Councillor Steve Brady, Hull City Council Leader, about the difference this cultural activity will make, giving people different experiences outside their everyday lives, was most inspiring. It was refreshing to witness a politician speaking freely, from the heart, not using a ready-made, clinical, risk-free script put together by someone else, but instead just "telling it as it is"!
If any member has any bright ideas about how our Credit Union - a significant member-owned business based in Hull - might support our City of Culture, I'd love to hear from you.  
One of the aims of the Year is to create a lasting legacy of benefits, and given that there will be scope to form lots of new businesses within both the cultural sector and the wider tourism-support industry, with the potential to grow and prosper long after 2017 ends, perhaps our new Business Start-up Loans facility could be of interest to those budding entrepreneurs?   
Quids in Project getting there
I had a meeting with the Quids In Project Team to find out how this project is doing.  For those who don't know Quids In is a multi-agency project run by Hull and East Riding Citizens Advice Bureau to help Hull's social tenants to make the most of their money.   Our Credit Union is one of the project partners and our staff member Juliana serves as a "banking buddy", helping people who’ve had difficulties obtaining bank accounts to open one that meets their needs.

Here's how Quids In recently helped a struggling tenant in the city with his high bills and debt.  The team helped him:
  • save £20 a month on gas and electricity;
  • apply for a water meter (cheaper for someone living alone);
  • pay off his debt to Yorkshire Water with a grant from the Yorkshire Water Trust;
  • sort out his other debts;
  • cut his other costs; and
  • get the help he was entitled to.
He is now less worried about money and feels he will be able to stay out of debt now he has more money in his pocket every week.

Coud Quids In help someone you know?   Contact Quids In on 01482 224511 or

Withernsea's moment of fame
It was good to see dear little Withernsea, where we have a volunteer-run branch, featured on TV last week, when a group of feisty ladies called the Ruby Red Performers reached the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent.  Apparently their adventures will be in the next edition of Seaside Radio magazine, and so will our Credit Union.  Look out for it!

Newly elected or re-elected?
Although my last blog was just after the General Election I forgot to congratulate all those who were elected across our common bond either to serve in Parliament or on a local authority.  We are proud that several MPs and Councillors in our region are Members of our Credit Union.
I am sure those elected realise what a privilege it is to represent the people (just as I did during my ten years as an elected director of The Co-operative Group), and what a weight of expectation there is to deliver on those promises!  Best of luck to you all.

Spread the cost - with a low cost Freedom Loan!
Did you know your Credit Union offers the best deal around on small loans?  It's often been mentioned by the Money Saving Expert and others, that we are many times cheaper than typical doorstep or online credit.   Why pay more than you need to for credit?  Check out our Freedom Loan today!

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