A hand-up, not a hand out!
The ‘hand-up’ fund is targeted at helping people who need to borrow a relatively small amount of money for an urgent need, for example, to buy a bed or to pay a utility bill. Traditionally, the Government’s Social Fund met these requirements, but many people are now ineligible and the fund also runs dry before the end of the financial year.
Whilst such people recognise that the Credit Union could be really useful to them, they just can’t get on the savings ladder because they have a pressing need NOW! Often, they end up turning to loan sharks and the exorbitant rates of interest charged means that they never have enough spare cash to start saving with the credit union.
People are generally referred to the credit union by the Citizens Advice Bureau (although existing credit union members facing real financial difficulty can apply directly – contact us if you think you might qualify). If granted, the loan operates in exactly the same way a normal CU loan, except that it is underwritten by shares donated by credit union members. And once the loan is paid off, the money is available to lend to someone else – so the fund is constantly re-cycled.
If you’d like to help give people a hand up by donating £5 or more, just complete this form and return it to the Freepost address.