The Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament celebrated International Credit Union Day, paying tribute to the sector’s achievements.
The day, which is held every year on the third Thursday in October, saw an awards ceremony in the Welsh Assembly recognising credit unions, their members and volunteers for their projects.
Admiral Insurance received an award for its work with Cardiff & The Vale Credit Union, which supported 400 of its staff. Another award went to Reg Smith, a volunteer at the Newport Credit Union, who served as a treasurer for the organisation. Also receiving an award were pupils from St Mary’s RC Primary School in Bridgend, for their initiative to run a credit union club in school.
Kalamba Kazadi, a member of Cardiff & the Vale Credit Union, received an award for making a difference by starting an orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the help of a loan from the credit union.
The Scottish Parliament marked the day through a motion supported by 33 MSPs, highlighting how credit union assets have increased by 149% and membership by 73% since 2007.
Lodged by MSP Ruth Maguire (SNP), convenor of the Cross-Party Group on Credit Unions, the motion praises the expansion of the Junior Savers Scheme through 40 new school partnerships and the delivery of a national credit unions awareness-raising campaign.
As part of this initiative, the Scottish government will collaborate with sector representatives to identify opportunities for targeted activity on funeral poverty. Around £500m is currently being saved in credit unions across Scotland, an increase from £192m ten years earlier.
To celebrate the day, John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North and deputy first minister in the Scottish government, visited Perth & Kinross Credit Union, of which he was the first member.
The theme of the 2017 International Credit Union Day was Dreams Thrive Here, aiming to show how credit unions and financial co-operatives serve as catalysts to make different professions, personal choices and career paths real.