A very Happy New Year to all readers!
HOW ARE WE DOING?
The first quarter of our new Credit Union year (to 31 December) was certainly a hectic one, with all HEYCU branches experiencing an increase in activity compared with the same period a year ago.
By the end of the Christmas Loan season the value of loans issued was 44% higher than in the same season of 2016, and the income earned from loan interest was 26% higher.
We are now serving 12,500 adult members and 1,400 junior savers, including 1,122 members employed by the DWP.
I’d like to thank our marvellous team of staff and volunteers for their hard work in growing the Credit Union and looking after our members so professionally. If we can keep this momentum going, we will transform our results by next year end.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS!
Grace (Acre Heads), Ella (Driffield Infants) and Christopher (Nafferton) were judged winners of our autumn School Savers’ poster colouring competition. We had some stunning entries so that it was very difficult for our Member Services Team to pick the winners! All entrants received a chocolate treat as a thank you.
Our 2017 Refer a Friend Prize Draw was won by Gail Turner of Bridlington. Gail was delighted when she learnt that she had won a Food and Drink Hamper value £50 and said the coffee and walnut cake was her favourite! The prize was handed over by staff colleague Sarah at our Prospect Street branch. We’d like to thank all our members who referred a friend to join us recently – don’t forget to collect your free CU jute shopping bag next time you pop in, if you haven’t done already.
We invited members to post a review on our Facebook page. Several of you did (many thanks) and Sarah Richardson was the name pulled out of the hat to win a visit for two to Father Christmas at Princes Quay, Hull! So pleased you enjoyed it, Sarah.
OUR GOOLE CHRISTMAS TOY APPEAL
We felt very privileged to be invited to help Our Goole magazine’s first ever Christmas Toy Appeal. So many people and local businesses collected presents for the appeal that there wasn’t an inch of spare space at our Goole branch on the day when they were distributed to local families!
Jo Evans (Goole Branch) said: “We have a number of families we work with who have massively benefited from this toy appeal. It was so great to be involved and I found it quite emotional when the parents saw the presents and realised they were able to choose something for their children.
“This has made such a big difference to so many families in our area. Without the toy appeal, some of these children would have had very little to look forward to. The look on the parents’ faces was just priceless and that will stay with me for a long time. I feel so proud to have been involved”.
Lisa Warrener, director of Our Goole, said: “We were absolutely blown away by the amount of presents we received for the appeal but not entirely surprised. The people of Goole are well known for pulling together to help others in times of need and this toy appeal once again proved that to be true.”
OUR FANTASTIC AGM 2017
As always, it was a great thrill to welcome our members to their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Hull’s prestigious Guildhall on 12th December.
Members asked a variety of thoughtful questions on the annual report, which the President and I did our best to answer. Our guest speaker, Aidene Walsh, chief executive of the Fairbanking Foundation, gave an interesting presentation, explaining how we qualified for the 5-star Fairbanking Mark for our CU Loans.
After voting on the annual dividend, the director elections took place. Congratulations to John Lawrence, Sue Nicholson and Alan Hignett on being re-elected to the Board, and to our two new directors, Joanne Foster and Altynay Guney.
Altynay is part of the Customer Experience Team at Hull City Council and speaks several languages. She has set up a community organisation to support Eastern Europeans living in the region with employment, welfare and financial issues, and is also a director of the Goodwin Development Trust.
Joanne, previously a HEYCU director from 2011 to 2013, has many years’ experience in financial services and banking, as well as working for leading social housing providers. She served as a DWP Financial Inclusion Champion and is currently a social housing and welfare reform consultant.
AIM HIGHER – OUR CHARITY OF THE YEAR
At the AGM we held a “spare change” collection for a local charity, Aim Higher, raising £81.60. We’re also adding in some other funds collected over the festive period and will arrange a presentation very soon.
Aim Higher is a new charity launched in September 2016 to empower local families who face challenges with autism, mental health and educational barriers. They organise regular support group meetings and offer one-to-one support for families as required. They do some great work and you can read more on their website.
We’ve decided to make Aim Higher our HEYCU charity of the year and the Employees’ Council will be planning some fund raising events that we can all support.
WEST HULL COMMUNITY RADIO
I was pleased to be invited on to West Hull FM recently to talk about our Credit Union. This energetic local radio station broadcasts to a target community of 100,000 people in West Hull, Hessle, Cottingham, Anlaby and Willerby, who listen in on 106.9 FM or online. It operates on a not-for-profit basis (like us) and is funded by sponsors, advertisers, grants and donations.
The aim of West Hull FM is to produce truly local radio, working with volunteers, local groups and organisations to give a voice to the community. The station is staffed mostly by a team of dedicated, committed volunteers who excel in producing and presenting unique and innovative programmes.
From what I saw, there should be more ventures like West Hull FM and I look forward to visiting them again at some point. If you’re in their area, why not listen in for yourself or find out more here.
At the December Board meeting, our new President was welcomed into office! Alan Hignett, who has been our President for the past four years, completed his term of office and handed over to Andy Stankard, who will now serve until at least December 2019.
The role of a Credit Union President is a key one, as it involves chairing all Members’ Meetings, chairing and leading the Board of Directors to ensure that its meetings are run effectively, supporting the individual directors and liaising well with the Chief Executive, as well as being the public face of the CU in many ways.
In my next blog there’ll be a pen portrait and some words from Andy on his hopes and plans for his time in office.
Meanwhile, there’s been some changes in the office. Zoe (Hull Member Services) left to take up a management role elsewhere and we wish her all the best.
Lauren has taken on the new role of Branch Development Co-ordinator and will become a familiar face at our branches over the coming months as we develop our exciting plans. In 2017 Lauren was one of the first graduates from the CU Futures Leadership programme.
LOCAL MEMBERS’ GROUPS
Here’s a quick reminder that in parts of our region, we have Local Members’ Groups meeting regularly to engage our members in learning more about their Credit Union and helping to promote it in their area.
Driffield Local Members’ Group meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month from 10 am to 11 am at the branch office, Market Walk, Driffield. Recently they ran a very popular stall at the Christmas Market with the help of our Penny the pennywise penguin, and they often raise funds for local charities.
Goole & District Local Members’ Group next meets on Wednesday 31 January from 6.00 pm at the Courtyard, Boothferry Road, Goole. There’ll be light refreshments, a quiz and a prize draw.
If you are a member living in those areas, why not pop along and join in? The meetings are very informal and you’ll be made most welcome.
TIME FOR A NEW YEAR MONEY MAKEOVER
This month we’re really keen to help people across the Humber Region to give their money a New Year Makeover. We’d love members and non-members alike to pop into one of our branches for a chat to see if we can save them some money.
At this time of year, those credit card bills drop through the letter box and many people find themselves embarrassed by the balances they ran up on the festive spends. Some will certainly be paying more in monthly payments than they need to. This is where we may be able to help. Why not see if you could Swap & Drop by switching to a Credit Union Loan with lower interest and lower repayments?
With a CU Loan, you not only simplify your finances by making one simple, smaller payment, but you can choose to “save as you borrow”, with repayments split between your loan and savings. So, when you’ve repaid your loan, you’ll have built up some handy savings too.
As part of the Money Makeover, we’d also encourage you to open a Christmas Saver account. With over £700,000 saved in 2017, ours is probably the Humber Region’s biggest Christmas Club, with all the funds safely protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (many clubs aren’t), and locked away from temptation until 1st November each year.
The Money Advice Trust, a debt charity, is advising consumers to plan ahead, set a household budget for 2018 and look at joining a Credit Union to save up for a stress-free Christmas. We’d agree – and to make it even more appealing, for a limited period we’re offering a £10 Bonus to anyone who opens a Christmas Saver account with us, makes at least two deposits, and keeps the savings in until November. The £10 bonuses are kindly funded by the Illegal Money Lending Team, a public agency that helps to combat loan sharks.
So there’s just two ideas for your New Year Money Makeover – let’s see if we can help, pop into a branch today for a chat with our friendly team, or call us on 01482 778753.