Today, Thursday 16th October, the Murston Community Bank and Hub in Sittingbourne has received a cheque for £5,000 from the Church Urban Fund, the Church of England’s charity working to alleviate issues of poverty and deprivation. The donation comes on the day that is marked around the world as International Credit Union Day (ICU Day).
Archdeacon Stephen Taylor, the Archdeacon of Maidstone visited Murston Community Bank and Hub, and handed the cheque to the volunteers at Murston Community Bank, as well as to Year 6 bankers from the recently established Murston Junior School Community Bank.
The donation has been given to help the church meet some of the running costs it incurs simply by being open each weekday between 10am and 12noon. As Archdeacon Stephen Taylor explained, the money will make a huge difference:
“When this bank launched earlier in the year, it was a catalyst for more people visiting with a whole range of issues than we could have forseen. When you start to open a church on more than just a Sunday, you discover that it costs quite a bit of money to heat it, to make it a warm environment, and to make it well lit and safe with CCTV. This money will help to cover their costs of running the building, and will mean that the wonderful volunteers here at Murston can continue to be a presence within the community and to offer it the support it needs.”
On International Credit Union Day last year, the Diocese of Canterbury formed an official partnership with the Kent Savers Credit Union. The Murston Community Bank developed out of that initial partnership and became Kent’s first community bank to be run within a church. The initiative has since developed and grown and no longer just offers financial services, but has become a ‘community hub’, offering people access to a variety of services such as weekly Citizen Advice Bureau Clinics, a drop-in Community Police Surgery, job clinics, a café, free WiFi and other community resources.
International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948.The aim of the day is to recognise and reflect upon the credit union movement’s history and to promote its achievements. This year’s theme is, Local Service. Global Good. and emphasises the positive impact credit unions can have in their communities and around the world.