Thanks to West Norwich volunteer
04 Oct 16
West Norwich Credit Union volunteer Freda Sheehy MBE has been thanked for decades of service to her community.
Friends and family joined colleagues at a party to pay tribute to Freda upon her retirement. Over the years, Freda has volunteered for everything from playgroups to junior discos, an anti-bullying campaign and seniors’ lunch clubs. She was once featured in a local newspaper as “the woman who only has Thursday’s off”, because of her commitment to volunteering!
In 2013, Freda (pictured with Norwich City Council Leader Alan Waters and West Norwich Credit Union President Ian Leather) was awarded an MBE in recognition of her work in the community.
In 1992, Freda was instrumental in setting up Earlham Credit Union, which would later become West Norwich Credit Union. She continued to be an active volunteer and has seen the credit union grow from a collection point in a community centre back room using double-entry bookkeeping, to a highly-valued organisation with a shop in the local community open five days a week. Freda’s vision at the outset was that it would be around for at least 100 years, even if she wasn’t!
Following on from a credit union visit to Ireland in 2008, Freda became part of a pilot Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) to run alongside West Norwich Credit Union. Her experience meant the pilot was a big success in helping people deal with mounting debts, and again was one of the first of its kind in the country to provide this service.
In the last eight years, MABS has grown to deal with over £2 million of debts and continues to remove worry and anxiety from the lives of many members of the community. Freda commented: “We often say the first meeting is tea and tissues, and the second is tea and biscuits”.
Freda will still be a regular visitor as she plans to continue in her role on the credit union’s Credit Committee.