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Gunton Credit Union

PUBLISHED: 11:23 03 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:43 06 July 2010

Credit Union AGM at Gunton - The effects of the state of the economy underlined this year's Rainbow Saver Credit Union annual meeting on Saturday. Held at the Gunton Estate's Community Hall, which saw the first Credit Union collection point in Lowestoft some years ago, the meeting was introduced by chair Sally Chicken.

Credit Union AGM at Gunton - The effects of the state of the economy underlined this year's Rainbow Saver Credit Union annual meeting on Saturday. Held at the Gunton Estate's Community Hall, which saw the first Credit Union collection point in Lowestoft some years ago, the meeting was introduced by chair Sally Chicken. Although based in Lowestoft, delegates came from all over the Eastern Counties, including several as far afield as Cambridge and Peterborough.

Despite the underlying concerns of the economy, there continued to be more savers and credit union collection points in Lowestoft than anywhere else in the Rainbow area. This was also reflected in the numbers of members which continues to outstrip those at Rainbow's previous base at Peterborough. However, although established less than two years ago, at its present rate of expansion, Great Yarmouth could soon be joining Lowestoft effectively making the two neighbouring towns the largest Rainbow Credit Union memberships in the area. Both reported sharp increases in savers in the latter part of 2008 despite the interest on loans being increased to 2%; this, however, remained low compared with the High Street banks.

Looking at the challenges created by the present economical downturn, several members at Saturday's meeting were concerned about the overall pressure it might cause to credit union collection points; already community banking had shown a noticeable upsurge of savers in the last few months. During concerns raised about the number of people who may find themselves in need or who had already suffered in the present general financial crisis, there was the possible setting up of food co-ops of which the Gunton Estate's already established Friday Healthy Eating Food Co-op at the Community Hall (where a voucher system is already in place) and at Signpost opposite, was hailed as a positive step forward and a good example to follow.

The Rainbow Saver Credit Union remains manned mainly by volunteers with only a minimal number of paid staff. Grant funding in the last year included Lowestoft Together, Waveney District Council, Suffolk County Council, among others. Rainbow is also regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and is non-profit making, relying on local community volunteers to man collection points. Contact Lowestoft Community Enterprise on 01502 587854, or pop into Lowestoft Community Enterprise in London Road South, Kirkley, for more details about credit unions and the location of collection points in the Lowestoft area. The Gunton collection point is at the Gunton Estate Community Hall every Monday form 9.15 am to 11.15 am, and at the Friday North Lowestoft Good Food Co-op from 1 pm to 3 pm, also at the Community Hall on the Gunton Estate.

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