Bradford District Credit Union feature on ITV National news
19 Jan 18
The report told the story of Sherida, a mother of three struggling with everyday finances and making ends meet to provide for her young family. It was broadcast in all three news bulletins through the day.
The credit union’s Financial Inclusion Officer, Ian Brewer, first met Sherida at a children’s centre that partners with the Credit Union to help people better understand their finances and save money. Sherida was from London and in 2016 was mugged and stabbed causing her to move to be near her mum in Bradford that August.
She described her finances as in ‘really bad shape’ as she never seemed to have enough money to cover everything and was in debt. She had heard of credit unions in London and wanted to find out how they could help her in Bradford. Ian met her and explained how the credit Union worked and she signed herself and her children up as members. 7 months later Ian met Sherida at the credit union branch at City Hall to find out how she had got on, how prepared she was for Christmas and what she know about Universal Credit.
Sherida said: “I’m so proud of myself! I took a regular savers account and transferred my benefits over to the credit union account from the post office. I started budgeting with the Engage card, a pre-paid debit card that allows me to do what I could otherwise do with a current account.”
Sherida began saving for her children, herself and towards the costs of Christmas. She took out a £500 loan to fund the costs of moving into a new property.
She said: “It’s so easy to get a loan; I needed to pay in my benefits. They told me I could have a small loan to start off with and I can pay off the balance anytime and won’t get charged. It really helped me move home and we all settled in so fast.”
On saving for Christmas, she added: “For the first time ever I don’t have to worry about Christmas. Every month I have been putting away as much as I can into my Christmas Savers and today I withdrew £650! Oh my goodness, I could not believe I had saved so much from my benefits. Now I use the engage card, I budget for everything so I have money to put away but I never thought it was that much!
“As a single mum I have only one thought every day, to set my mind on making a future for my kids, you know? They are all I live for and I want to provide the best Christmas ever and have savings for them when they are older, and I want to teach them to save.
“I look around at other people I know that were just like me, not knowing where they are going to get Christmas money from and I tell them, get down to the Credit Union!”
Sherida is concerned about the future regarding Universal Credit, Sherida says, “Look, I have a lot of friends who know it’s coming but not sure what to do about it. No one really understands it, we all just know it’s all the benefits paid in one go with a long time to wait for it.