Community “bank” extended in Barking and Dagenham

�An ethical and sustainable community “bank” has received a massive cash boost to help more people save and borrow money.

The Liberty Credit Union, which is owned and managed by its members, has been awarded �38,500 of funding, to help set up three new outreach points across Barking and Dagenham and develop an accredited paid apprenticeship scheme for unemployed young people.

The credit organisation offers fair savings alternatives and vital support to people in desperate need of loans without charging extortionate interest rates.

It aims to stop people using loan sharks and other businesses with high interest rates, which can see debts spiralling out of control.

Chief executive Martyn Warne said: “I am delighted by the announcement. We have just opened a new branch in Vicarage Fields, Barking, and this money will help us reach out to far more local people than we would otherwise have been able to.

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“We focus on our local area, helping our own people, and the funding received will have an effect on our ability to drive this project forward ever faster.”

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas, who is a member of Liberty Credit Union, welcomed the news.

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He said: “The Credit Union does a lot of important work in the local area helping some of the most vulnerable and struggling residents.

“The Credit Union also has a track record of getting people into employment, either for the first time by tackling youth unemployment or by helping others to get back into the workplace.”

Liberty Credit Union has been helping people make ends meet since 2003, when it was first launched in Havering.

In 2011, it branched out into Dagenham and now has an office in Barking.

The money comes from a community scheme which is funded by major high street banks.

The Barking outlet on the top floor of Vicarage Field shopping centre, Ripple Road is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 1pm.

Advisors are also at Dagenham Library on Thursdays between 11am and 1.30pm.

Two forms of identification should be brought along.

Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in the borough.

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