Some really great news; I bumped into Malcolm from 6Towns on Friday. He is the Development Manager for 6Towns Credit Union.
I’ve been keeping a careful look at what these guys are doing and it’s a great success story for Sandwell. Over the past few years, 6Towns have gone from strength to strength, really tackling the problems of financial exclusion for thousands of people across Sandwell.
Now they are embarking on their next big step; over the next few months they will be launching a new Current Account complete with a Debit Card and facilities for Direct Debits so you will be able to manage your money with ease. This is going to be especially important for people who depend for their income on Benefits.
You have all heard about Universal Credit and how the Government is going to be changing the system. From next year, payments will be made just once a month and this could cause big problems for a lot of people.
For example, if you are living in Social Housing (with Sandwell Homes or a Housing Association) and you are on Housing Benefit, your rent is paid direct to your landlord. But from next year you will have to set up a system to make the payments yourself.
This is where 6Towns will be able to help. By setting up a current account with them, they will take your Universal Credit payment and manage your rent and other regular bill payments for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Paying for things like Council Tax can also be managed so you will not have to remember when it’s time to pay.
6Towns will be the first Credit Union in the country to be offering this great service and it’s brilliant to see a local organisation really breaking new ground.
They are also there for people who just want to set up some savings for themselves or for children and grandchildren. All your money is completely safe because it is insured and the loans that 6Towns make are just for people who live or work in Sandwell, so your money is helping the community as well.
Over the past few years, 6Towns has paid a dividend that beats most of the deals you can get on the High Street from banks. Last year 6Towns paid 4%!
That’s got to be better than paying huge bonuses to bankers!
Anyway, I shall be looking for ways to increase the links between the Council and 6Towns and I want to say a big thank you for all the work they are doing to help local people.