Monday, 27 November 2017

JOHN’S BLOG – NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

Life is buzzing here at HEY-CU as it’s “all hands on deck” to provide our members with the funds they need to afford the coming festive season.  If we take a little longer than usual to respond to your enquiries, we hope you will understand.


OUR AGM







We are looking forward to meeting our members at the AGM on Tuesday 12 December in Hull Guildhall.  The meeting starts at 5.45 pm but food and drink is available from 5.15 pm.  It promises to be an interesting meeting as we have lots to tell you about our action-packed year as well as our exciting plans for 2018.   We promise there won’t be any long speeches but we are thrilled that Aidene Walsh of the Fairbanking Foundation is coming to say a few words about our award of a 5-star Fairbanking Mark which was obviously one of the highspots of our 2017.

Our Annual Newsletter and Report & Accounts are now on our website for you to and we will shortly post details of the candidates nominated for the Board of Directors so that you can read about them ahead of the meeting if you wish.   If you are unable to come to the meeting but would like to email a question on the report, we’ll try to have it answered at the meeting and then forward a reply to you.


RECORD CHRISTMAS SAVINGS
It’s been another record year for our Christmas Saver accountMembers accumulated just over £700,000 by 1st November, the date when the funds were unlocked for withdrawal.   All branches increased their festive savers this year but I want to make particular mention of our newest contact points – Howden and Hemingbrough – where, despite us only opening in June and September respectively, the savvy-saving residents managed to amass £4,634 towards Christmas, and earn themselves £1,450 in bonuses thanks to our Shop the Sharks Campaign!

While browsing a well-known bookshop the other day I was fascinated to find a paperback called Me Sannies are Brannies by John Brien.   It lists all the words and phrases that Hull folk use that are unique to the city, you know, like “mama mia” (here I am, mother) and “goin’ on rerd (going shopping).  It even mentioned Didlums – the informal savings clubs often run by work mates or neighbours Hull people use to save up for Christmas.  Here at HEY-CU we must surely be running the biggest Didlum in the City – our Christmas Saver account!   It’s probably the safest one as well, because it’s entirely protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, unlike those informal ones.   If you haven’t joined yet, why not give it a try and aim for a stress-free Christmas 2018.   I can see all you non-Hullites wondering: Me Sannies are Brannies?  - My sand shoes (gym shoes) are brand new.


LOANS GALORE


We’re very delighted that more and more people are discovering that our Credit Union Loan offers a great way to spread the cost whether it’s for Christmas treats, replacement domestic items, a new car, home improvements, a holiday, a special family celebration or whatever.  Since the morning BBC TV series featured credit unions a few weeks back, footfall in our branches has been higher than ever, and our loans are up 35% compared to the same period last year.  Our Child Benefit Loan and Savings Plan has taken off in a big way – check it out on our website – while, for our payroll members, our Flexi-Credit product is proving highly popular.    

During October and November we experimented with Saturday opening at our main Brook Street branch and there was a good response.  We will be evaluating the results shortly to see if this is something that would be worth repeating.

There’s still time to apply for a CU Loan for Christmas but don’t leave it too long!


DRIFFIELD CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL AND LIGHT SWITCH ON
If you’re out and about in Driffield on Friday 1st December the chances are you’ll meet our pennywise friend, Penny the penguin!   She’ll be helping our volunteers on the Credit Union stall at Driffield’s Christmas Market, which starts at 2 pm and lasts until 8 pm.  The festive fun takes place in the Market Place, with the big switch on at 7 pm. There’ll be lots of gift ideas, music and street entertainment, a family fun fair, tombola, hog roast and a chance to see Santa on his sparkling sleigh.  Talking of gift ideas, why not open a First Saver account for the special children in your life; you’ll be setting them up for a bright financial future?


OUR GOOLE TOY APPEAL
We’re proud to be supporting the Our Goole Christmas Toy Appeal, which distributes gifts to local families who need a bit of support. Anyone wishing to donate may drop off new unwrapped gifts at our Goole branch, 22 Pasture Road on Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays from 10 am to 2 pm.  Let’s make their Christmas a special one.


MEMBERS’ LOTTERY
Those Credit Union Friendly Folk who run our monthly Members’ Lottery have issued their Annual Report and Accounts which make interesting reading.  During the year to 30 September 2017 they sold 12,371 Lottery tickets and paid out prizes worth £7,278 (58%).  They again donated £5,000 to our Credit Union to support our training, marketing and postage costs.  We are most grateful to the Hull Branch of UNISON, the public service union, for becoming our main Lottery sponsor for 2017-19, which means more prizes for our members each month. 

We’re keen to find more sponsors to help swell the prize fund.  Organisations who become Lottery sponsors get great publicity in our newsletters, on social media and the branch TV screens, which are seen by thousands of members.  If your organisation would like to support us, do please get in touch.


DEMENTIA FRIENDS
Our staff team had an interesting talk by one of the Dementia Friends Champions, a trained volunteer from the Alzheimer’s Society.  We wanted to understand more about dementia so that we can better help members with the condition when they visit or call us on the phone.  We learnt five important things about dementia:
·        It’s not a natural part of ageing;
·        It’s caused by diseases of the brain;
·        It’s not just about losing your memory, it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks;
·        It is possible to live well with dementia; and
·        There’s more to a person than dementia.  With support, people with dementia can and do take an active role in life.
Hopefully, by becoming Dementia Friends we can play a small part in helping to build more dementia-friendly communities.  If you need support or advice about dementia, visit alzheimers.org.uk or contact the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122.  To enquire about becoming a Dementia Friend, email dementiafriends@alzheimers.org.uk or call 0845 306 0898.


CREDIT UNION ARCHIVE
One of our active volunteers suggested that, now HEY-CU has passed its 18th anniversary, it could be time to set up an archive to ensure our proud history is properly recorded for the benefit of future generations.   We are required by law to keep minutes of our board and committee meetings of course, and we have a full set of annual reports, but also over the years we’ve amassed a range of artefacts such as City of Hull Credit Union mugs, pens, coasters, rulers, shopping bags, membership cards and printed material of every kind.  We’ve also won one or two awards and trophies along the way which would look very splendid in a display case.   If anyone is interested in helping us to celebrate our history, has any expertise in this area, or any relevant items they’d like to donate to a HEY-CU archive, do please get in touch!


TAKE FIVE – TO STOP FRAUD
We are always anxious to help our members to stay safe and avoid becoming victims of financial fraud.  That’s why we’re supporting Take Five – a national campaign led by Financial Fraud Action and backed by HM Government, that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone stay clear of preventable financial fraud.

Many of us think we’d never fall for a fraudulent text or email, but criminals are more sophisticated than ever.  Take a test to see if you can spot the fraud and know when it’s time to say ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so’.

It’s worth remembering, your bank, credit union or the police will never:
·        phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password, even by tapping them into your phone keypad;
·        ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping;
·        ask you to transfer money to a safe account for fraud reasons, even if they say the account is in your name;
·        send someone to your home to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud;
·        ask you to purchase goods using your card and then hand them over for safe-keeping.


FESTIVE OPENING TIMES
As Santa and his helpers prepare to make their deliveries, here at HEY-CU the seasonal work of our staff and volunteer team will be almost done, and we’ll be ready for a little rest.  So, some of our branches will have different opening times between 18 December and 2 January.  Check out here when your branch will be open.  Our phone lines will open the same days as Hull Central branch.



Everyone at HEY-CU sends seasonal greetings and wishes all friends a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.