Ann Coffey


Stockport Express Column – Christmas 2013

Sharing is caring!

Christmas is famously a time for giving and sharing and I am always heartened by the neighbourliness and warmth that we find in Stockport at this time of year.

A recent survey of voluntary and community groups in Stockport found that there are at least 3,000 people volunteering in Stockport, giving up at least 12,000 hours of their time each week!

Local volunteers are organising numerous Christmas events to benefit our communities and charities and last week I attended a community awards event to celebrate local volunteers in Adswood and Bridgehall.

It was inspiring to see so many people, including young people, who volunteer to help others. You are a credit to the area – thank you for all you are doing.

As an MP, I spend a lot of time legislating, but laws by themselves cannot make communities strong. What makes a community strong is the combined strength of the people who contribute to it.

One way in which we can all help each other is to join the Stockport Credit Union, which allows people to save and to borrow money at low interest rates.

Even those of us who don’t need loans should join the Credit Union to help it become more sustainable and so that people who have to use it for loans are not stigmatised. I joined last week.

It’s a safe place to save and you can apply for a loan when you have saved regularly – at least a £1 a week- for ten weeks.

Credit Unions have a long and proud history. They are part of the answer to the blight of pay day loan companies who charge extortionate rates which crush people.

With a credit union, if you borrow £1,000 it will cost you less than £60 in interest to repay the loan within a year based on regular weekly or monthly payments.

If we all joined the Credit Union it would be a great Christmas present to our community because a strong credit union can save people from drowning under the weight of costly pay day loans.