Tuesday, 31 January 2017


It seems ages ago that we were welcoming in the New Year and, here in the City of Kingston upon Hull, enjoying the launch of our time as UK City of Culture.  And what a spectacular start it was!  The fireworks on the opening night were well worth seeing, despite it being one of the coldest nights of the winter, but then the Made in Hull experience that followed was simply stunning.  Seeing the past 80 years of Hull’s history so cleverly projected on to the walls of some of our most iconic buildings in glorious technicolour was amazing, and huge crowds revelled in the experience all week long.   If this is just the start, what follows on as the year unfolds will be well worth waiting for!

Meanwhile back at the Credit Union, we’ve had a busy opening month as well…

Our video debut at the roadshow in St Stephen’s Shopping Centre proved very popular and during the week-long event we enlightened a lot more people as to what credit unions are all about.  Staff colleagues joined the professional marketeers to meet shoppers, hand out leaflets and invite them to join in our Quiz.   Here are the answers in case you were wondering:
·         Your Credit Union is owned by – its Members
·         A credit union can charge whatever it likes if you borrow money from it – False
·         Borrowing from a credit union is cheaper than borrowing from a doorstep lender – True
·         Savings are better protected in a big bank than in a credit union – False
We are still checking the replies but will announce the winner of the £50 shopping voucher very soon!

We’d like to thank Phil Frampton of the Barclays Credit Union Development Project for putting on a very interesting social media workshop for us.  We were delighted that colleagues from two other credit unions – Voyager Alliance and Commsave – could join us for the event.

Alan (our President) and I attended a very worthwhile ABCUL Larger Credit Unions event in Manchester.   The agenda was packed with useful topics and opportunities to share news and information and compare performance.  I was interested in some recent research that showed that one of the features of credit unions that members value most is the ability to save while you borrow.  It is so ingrained in the way we’ve always worked that we have perhaps forgotten what a powerful benefit it is.

Our campaign to urge people to “Say No to Loan Sharks” got off to a great start when Sid the (reformed) Shark visited Boothferry Primary School in Goole to meet pupils and involve them in some healthy money talk.  The Headteacher did a brilliant job setting the scene and encouraging them to join our Pennies 2 Pounds School Bank.   A week later Sid visited Greatfield Estate in Hull and the look of surprise as he wandered into the local shops to meet staff and customers was a sight to behold!   Sid’s message was of course to warn people about getting into the clutches of illegal money lenders, who do so much harm to families and communities up and down the land.

If anyone knows of loan sharks operating they should contact the Illegal Money Lending Team on 0300 555 2222 or email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or text loan shark + message to 60003.  All messages are treated in complete confidence and you could be doing your community the biggest favour ever.

Remember, anyone who opens a Credit Union savings account in Goole or Greatfield between now and 1st March and saves at least twice during February, will qualify for a £25 savings bonus!  Pop down to see us to claim your voucher.

Last week I was in Glasgow with our portable Credit Union recruitment stand meeting staff at the major DWP offices at Northgate.   DWP staff there can join HEYCU and save with us by payroll deduction.  I should like to thank credit union volunteer Angela for her brilliant help and company on the day.  We had some good conversations with the DWP colleagues and I was interested to learn that there are around 34 credit unions in Glasgow and they have the highest penetration of membership of anywhere in the UK.  Quite by chance, it happened to be Robbie Burns Day and to join in the celebrations I tucked into a lunch of haggis, tatties and neeps in the staff canteen!   I am sure we will be back north of the border before too long.

The Pennies 2 Pounds School Banks at the Winterton schools continue to make good progress and during the three months to 30 January 2017 over £530 was saved into the accounts by pupils and their families. Well done to all our savers!

Andrew from our Scunthorpe branch was invited to make a presentation to the children of Winterton Junior School during their assembly and this was well received.  The Headteacher then announced to the children that the school will deposit £1 into every new account opened by a pupil this school year.  Chole Fowler will be running the Winterton Junior School Bank on Thursdays 9 Feb, 9 Mar, 6 Apr, 4 May, 8 and 22 Jun, 13 and 20 July.  Donna Goodhand will be running the Winterton Infants School Bank weekly on a Friday.

We are also planning to open a regular contact point inside Winterton’s Co-op.  Watch out for more news!

We are very sad to be losing the services of our wonderful Schools Co-ordinator in the Driffield area, Rita Walker.  Rita and Nigel are leaving the area to go and live in the North-East to be closer to their family but they have been sterling volunteers over the years and we shall miss them.  Rita has been the mainstay of our Pennies 2 Pounds Club, organising and supporting the volunteer teams and putting on special assemblies in numerous schools ranging from the Driffield area up to Bridlington and deep into Holderness.   Everyone at HEYCU would like to say “thank you Rita for a job well done” and our very best wishes for the future.

At this time of year we know many people are feeling money-challenged and some may be saddled with big credit card bills that were run up during the festive spending season. As a result they may be paying out more in monthly repayments than necessary.  That’s where we may be able to help.  Take a look at the Swap & Drop page on our website and see if we could save you some money by switching to a Credit Union Loan with lower interest and lower repayments.