A Jersey charity which helps disadvantaged Islanders by providing access to the basic financial services most of us take for granted has received £20,000 from the Lloyds TSB Foundation.
Community Savings Ltd intends to put the funds to good use this year to further its important work and to make more people aware of how it can help those most in need of its services in such difficult economic times.
Since it opened for business in 2002, Community Savings has helped over 1,000 Islanders, with more than 700 customers currently having accounts.
“Many people in Jersey do not realise how hard it is for some people to get a bank account or manage their finances to make ends meet,” says the charity’s chairman, Brian Curtis MBE. “And as the effects of the recession continue to be felt, it is not just the low paid, those on income support or without any savings who are experiencing personal debt problems,” he added.
Community Savings is not actually a bank, being established on the lines of a UK Credit Union, but with additional services tailored to suit Jersey residents’ needs. These include providing basic savings account facilities and a pre-paid Alto MasterCard, help with budgeting and, in certain circumstances, making emergency funding loans or grants for small sums. Customers are encouraged to save and receive free budgeting advice and ongoing mentoring to help them best manage their finances, no matter how small.
Apart from the practical benefits of being a Community Savings customer, Mr Curtis says there is also a huge, and important, social benefit to be gained.
“Our customers appreciate the friendly and informal atmosphere when they call to see us and our services enable them to participate in mainstream living, regain their confidence and self-respect and to feel a part of our local community.”
In 2013 the charity intends to:
- Continue to raise its profile through greater participation with government departments, charities and community organisations;
- Increase access for customers by opening its Seale Street office an extra morning per week on Thursdays from 7 February, in addition to Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Develop an educational support programme on personal budgeting and managing debt together with organisations working with young people;
- Raise sufficient sponsorship (£115,000 per annum) to enable growth of the service to meet anticipated need;
The Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands has donated in excess of £12 million to charities in the Channel Islands, the UK and overseas since it’s inception in 1985. It is a grant-making trust that decides on and makes donations to charities in both bailiwicks. Its mission is to support and work in partnership with charitable organisations which help people, especially those who are disadvantaged or disabled, to play a fuller role in communities throughout the Channel Islands.
The Foundations are legally independent of the Lloyds TSB Group and independent boards of trustees determine their policies. The Chairman of the local foundation is Jurat Stephen Jones and the Executive Director is John Hutchins.
Mr Hutchins said: ‘Community Savings is a particularly important operation to an ever-growing area of the community and The Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands is particularly pleased to be in a position to assist.’