Cumnock and Doon Valley Credit Union
Cumnock and Doon Valley Credit Union is both community based and volunteer managed and its members (who as not called ‘customers’, as in mainstream banking) save regularly. This creates a pool of money for loans to members. Credit unions avoid the trap of banks of over-lending by only lending money they already have. Anyone can join the credit union whatever their income, as savings of even £1 or £2 a week can build a little nest-egg. The Union not only welcomes adults but also encourages the saving habit in young people by operating in schools. Pupils take turns to run their own weekly savings collections and older volunteers and Future Jobs Fund workers provide them with support. This links schools to the wider community and brings generations together in a shared activity.
Early work within two schools was successful, leading to grant support – first from the Scottish Government’s Financial Inclusion Fund via the East Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership, and then from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust for professional youth development. This significantly extended the number of schools involved. Following the expiry of these grants, the Future Jobs Fund has been a valuable resource.
Recently, local MSP Cathy Jamieson has backed a motion in the Scottish Parliament recognising the role credit unions play in tacking financial exclusion.
She said, “I send my congratulations to credit unions across Scotland for their role in tacking financial exclusion. I know that locally the Cumnock and Doon Valley Credit Union offers a fantastic service. They encourage saving, and can provide credit when needed.”
The young people who were trained to support the initiative enjoyed working with money, as well as gaining a sense of responsibility. This is what Curriculum for Excellence is all about in developing ‘effective contributors’ and ‘responsible citizens’ of the future.
“Our partnership with the Credit Union has instilled valuable lessons into many of our young people that will serve them well in adult life.” Ian McCulloch, Cumnock Academy.
“In the Credit Union I have learned number and cash handling skills, communication skills and how to work successfully with Credit Union staff.” John Druggan, Student, Cumnock Academy