Monday, 26 February 2018

JOHN’S BLOG – FEBRUARY 2018


We are only into February but there’s lots going on at HEYCU to tell you about already:


RENEWABLE ENERGY POWERS NEW PARTNERSHIP

We are celebrating our new energy efficient status after installing solar panels, LED lighting and internal insulation as part of a new partnership with Co-op Energy.


Our Brook Street headquarters in Hull city centre now boasts 22 solar panels on the roof, along with new LED office lighting and internal insulation, provided by Co-operative Energy Saving.
Each solar twin peak panel has the capacity to produce up to 265w, meaning the new installation could create nearly 5,000kWh a year, saving up to £800 per annum.
Co-operative Energy Saving aims to help combat climate change by helping individuals, community groups and small businesses to reduce their energy consumption and bills.  This fantastic initiative has made us realise that, even as a relatively small organisation, we can play an important part in tackling climate change. It is an issue that we know our member-owners are very passionate about.
Martin Cook, Affiliates Manager at Co-op Energy, said: “One of our main goals as a co-operative is to help create a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable world, and working closely with like-minded individuals, communities and organisations is an essential part of this.
“Our project with Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union shows what can be achieved when we work collaboratively to help shape the future of energy generation.”



NOW OUR CHRISTMAS SAVER PRIZE DRAWS ARE MONTHLY!

We’re so thrilled with the big increase in Christmas Saver accounts this year that we’ve decided to have a special Prize Draw once a month to encourage members to keep on saving!
At each month end we’ll draw a winner at random from all who have paid into their Christmas Saver account during that month.  So, remember to make at least one deposit per month and then you’ll qualify to be entered in every draw.   You’ll also be very glad when Christmas comes along and you have lots of money to draw upon, for a stress-free festive season.
Our first prize winner – in January – was Gemma Smirk of Kingswood, who is the proud owner of a new food blender, to get her new year off to a healthy start. 
February’s prize will have a Valentines’ theme –maybe the winner could be YOU?



WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS AT LEBUS

We were delighted to welcome eight new members at Lebus Upholstery, the furniture makers in Scunthorpe where we have a payroll partnership. Lebus workers can save and borrow with us direct from their pay, thanks to their enlightened management who offer them this fantastic staff benefit. 
Workers who use this service say they don’t miss the money, as it comes out before they get paid and goes into a savings account with us.   It’s a great way of “secret saving” for a special holiday or treat for a family member.   It’s also easy to change the amount – up or down – but many members just keep it the same year after year, building up a nice nest-egg for later in life.
Does your employer offer payroll deduction to our credit union?  If not, why not ask them to?   Employers simply contact us to find out how to operate it – and it’s really easy to administer.  If you can convince your employer to offer this benefit, we’ll reward you with £50.



CENTRE4 LAUNCH NEW SAVINGS CLUB TO HELP RESIDENTS PLAN AHEAD

Grimsby’s MP, Melanie Onn, helped us launch a new partnership for the people of North East Lincolnshire on Friday 23 February.  The Christmas Savings Club has now started at Centre4, the well-used community hub at Wootton Road, Grimsby.
Local residents will be able to pop into Centre4 to deposit small amounts of cash at a convenient time, giving them access to our credit union as a welcome alternative to payday loans, doorstep lenders and even illegal money lenders operating across North East Lincolnshire.
Linda Dellow, Chief Officer at Centre4 said, “We are delighted to offer a Christmas Savings Club from Centre4. We fully understand the financial pressures facing some people and how difficult it can be to budget from week to week, never mind keeping money back for Christmas. A Christmas Savings Club can help people put small amounts of money away on a regular basis and give them access to a savings fund at what is always an expensive time of year”.
For a limited time, a £10 bonus is available to anyone opening an account. The Christmas Savings bonus is provided by the Stop Loan Sharks project as a further incentive for people to develop a savings habit and keep away from high cost, high risk lending.  It is funded using proceeds of crime money; cash that has been seized from loan sharks under money laundering laws.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“We’re pleased to be working with Centre4 and Northern Lincolnshire Credit Union to launch this new incentive, which will see loan sharks’ cash being put to good use, to sponsor new Christmas savings accounts.  Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable members of our communities and extort them out of hard earned cash. If you have fallen victim to an illegal money lender, we urge you to contact us on 0300 555 2222 or www.stoploansharks.uk. We will take information anonymously and in confidence.”



HORNSEA WANTS A CREDIT UNION

I took a call from Councillor John Whittle of Hornsea in East Yorkshire the other day.  His enquiry was an all too familiar one these days, sadly.  The town of Hornsea (population 8.000+) is losing its last High Street bank in May.   After that, residents won’t have a local bank to pop into.   He asked whether the Credit Union could consider providing a service in the town.
Without funding, we would struggle to provide a high street banking presence in a town like Hornsea, but if we some enthusiastic volunteers came forward, maybe we could set up a weekly contact point, similar to those we operate in Driffield, Withernsea, Beverley, Howden and a few other places.   At least local residents would have somewhere to deposit savings and apply for affordable loans with a reputable organisation that cares for the local community – because we are owned by our members and exist solely to serve them, rather than make profits for City shareholders and bonuses for Fat Cat managers who I don’t suppose even know where Hornsea is.
Anyway, I’ve accepted an invitation to speak at Hornsea Town Council meeting on 5 March, so we’ll see what happens after that.  No promises, of course. 



SCHOOL BANK NEWS

Recently my staff colleague Jamie-Leigh issued our Spring-term Pennies 2 Pounds Newsletter to the schools where we have a volunteer run school bank.   She reminded everyone that mums, dads, uncles, aunties, grandparents and younger or older siblings can all save at the school bank, not just pupils.  It’s a popular way to get the whole family into the habit of regular saving so that money is available for Christmas, holidays, school trips, kit and uniform, birthday treats and so on.   Staff at most of our schools can also pay into the Credit Union direct from their salary.
The newsletter offers volunteers some useful tips for spreading the word about a school bank:
·        Ask about mentioning your school bank on the school’s website.  Some do this already but others don’t, probably because no one has suggested it.  It’s a good way to let the parents and wider community know when the school bank runs.  
·        Does the school produce a parents’ Newsletter? If so, perhaps they could include a short article about the school bank.
·        Hand out a flyer with an application form at the school gate (with head teacher’s permission).
·        Ask about sending flyers out with the children’s book bags.
·        Could someone offer to present an assembly in school, talking about the benefits of saving and looking after money, with some fun activities, music and rhymes?

We’re thrilled that Archie of Boothferry Primary School is our first P2P Saver to be awarded a Super Saver Certificate and P2P lunch bag.   He has saved with us regularly since the school bank opened in 2013 and reached an amazing personal savings target.



GOOLE & DISTRICT LOCAL MEMBERS’ GROUP

Our second meeting was held at The Courtyard, Goole on 31 January.  It was well-supported and we welcomed two new members.   The Know Your Credit Union Quiz was great fun and members were amazed to learn that since we were formed in 1999, our Credit Union reckons to have saved the people of Hull and East Yorkshire over £13 million by providing loans cheaper than doorstep lenders.   Jean Taylor and Janet Sowden won prizes for the most correct answers.
We discussed lots of ideas for improving the Pasture Road Credit Union branch, at modest cost.  We already have a play table to keep the little ones amused while parents make their transactions, and there are exciting plans to freshen up the décor, make better use of the back room and install a new sign.  We’re grateful to members of the Group for their suggestions and offers of help.
Since the meeting Councillor Pat O’Neil came to spend a day in branch with Jo and it was a great pleasure to have her company.  Pat was amazed at the variety of ways in which we try to help the people of Goole to make the best use of their money.   We have recently started to promote our partnership with Co-op Electrical, which lets members obtain domestic appliances much cheaper than certain weekly payment stores.  And they give a choice of delivery times!



VISITS TO DWP OFFICES

I’ve planned some visits to DWP sites over the next two months, to recruit more members, meet our Workplace Champions and say hello to existing members across the wide area we serve.  On 13-14 March I’ll be at Glasgow, Paisley and Motherwell.   April sees visits to Stockton-on-Tees, and possibly Seaham in the North-East, and also some offices in West Yorkshire. 
It was fascinating to learn that we were featured in a question in Parliament, when it was revealed that the three credit unions serving DWP staff (CommSave, Voyager Alliance and HEYCU) had enrolled 3,800 DWP members and provided them with loans of £4 million since July 2016.
A busy few weeks lies ahead, as we will also be launching a new payroll partnership to provide our popular savings and loans service to the staff of North East Lincolnshire Council. 



HULL’S HEADSCARF REVOLUTIONARIES

Did you see the BBC4 documentary about the group of Hull women who, 50 years ago, fought for decent health and safety at sea after 58 men lost their lives in the Triple Trawler Tragedy of 1968?
Deep sea fishing was the city’s most dangerous industry, with frequent loss of life, and many thought that nothing could be done about it.  Not so, “Big Lil” Bilocca and her friends, whose determined and ultimately successful campaign to stop unsafe trawlers from going to sea, in the face of stiff opposition from owners and sometimes the menfolk themselves, earned them the title “Headscarf Revolutionaries”.   It’s another example of the “power of the people” that makes us so proud of our home city. 



CHILD BENEFIT LOAN & SAVINGS PLAN
This is rapidly becoming one of our most popular products, with several hundred families now regularly having their Child Benefit paid into the Credit Union.   It’s a really simple and sensible way of combining saving and borrowing to make the most of your money.   A loan of £500 over a year costs just £12 a week, which means that someone receiving Child Benefit of £21, could save up to £470 a year just by leaving it in to mount up, say for use at Christmas.  Find out more.



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