CHURCHES in Darlington have been urged to get behind a diocesan initiative to support credit unions in the area.
Last year, The Bishop of Jarrow, the Right Reverend Mark Bryant, launched a project to recruit 1,000 people to invest in credit unions across the Anglican Diocese of Durham and engage congregations much more in supporting the organisations.
Supporting credit unions was a key part of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s time as Bishop of Durham.
The new bishop, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, has also pledged to put alleviating poverty at the heart of his ministry.
This Sunday, churches across the Anglican Deanery of Darlington were asked to sign up to the Darlington Credit Union.
Area Dean the Reverend Canon John Dobson said: “We are doing this in support of the Bishop of Jarrow’s appeal launched last year and hope that across the Diocese, we can persuade more than 1,000 new investors to sign up.
“We hope that people in the churches of the Deanery, and within other denominations, will join the Darlington Credit Union, which helps vulnerable people.
“Credit unions are a win-win situation. Credit unions really work. It is safe to invest in them and it helps keep people away from those who exploit the most vulnerable and poorest people in our society.
“Darlington has real deprivation and areas where people struggle and there is no shortage of people who can benefit from the work of a good, strong credit union.”
Tony Brockley, who runs the Darlington Credit Union, said that its membership had grown from 600 four years ago to 4,000.
He said: “The demand is there and we work in some of the most deprived areas of the town, where the response has been unbelievable as we help to keep people away from loan sharks, doorstep lenders and payday loan companies.
“With the demand for our services comes a need for more investors and we applaud this initiative from the Diocese.
“It is something everyone in the town, and across the whole of County Durham, needs to engage in.”
For more information, visit darlingtoncreditunion.co.uk