CHURCH MARKS ANNIVERSARY BY HELPING TACKLE PAYDAY LENDERS
By hrbrsd | Wednesday, January 08, 2014, 10:28
A Westminster church is marking the start of its 170th anniversary celebrations with a £10,000 deposit into a local credit union to help local residents access affordable financial services.
Wilbert Hunte, Cllr Jonathon Read and Will Rhodes of Your CU
David Ackerman, vicar of St John the Evangelist in Kensal Green, handed over a cheque to West London-based YourCU, which covers Kensal Green and Queen's Park, on Monday (6 January).
It comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, urged churches to work with credit unions to 'compete' pay day lenders such as Wonga out of business.
"It is vital churches work with credit unions to enable more people to access local, ethical and reasonably-priced financial services," said Rev Ackerman.
"Having a credit union in our community gives people in need of affordable loans somewhere to turn rather than use pay day lenders. We're proud to be putting our money where our mouth is."
St John's, consecrated in 1844 at the same time as Kensal Green itself was built, celebrates 170 years of service to the community in 2014. The church is currently undergoing exterior renovation work.
"We didn't want 2014 to be only about the church building and thought a £10,000 investment in YourCU would be a fitting gesture to celebrate the church's 170th year and our commitment to the community," added Fr David.
William Rhodes, chief executive of YourCU, said the union, was delighted to be part of St John's anniversary celebrations, supporting local people to manage their finances.
"We need to turn the tables on pay day lenders and ensure a way out for people trapped in an endless and soul-destroying cycle of debt and 5,000% interest rates," he said.
Wilbert Hunte, from Compton Road, a member of St John's congregation who has lived in Kensal Green for 40 years, welcomed the church's decision to support its local credit union.
"It's important for local people to be able to save money safely and to borrow money, if they need to, without being taken to the cleaners by the pay day lenders.
"People have lost trust in banks because of all the financial scandals and the huge bonus payouts you hear about, while many ordinary people on the other hand are just struggling just to make ends meet.
St John's, which stands on the crossroads of Harrow Road, Kilburn Lane and Ladbroke Grove, is built in the Romanesque style with twin towers with pinnacles and short spires.
The interior of St John's looks very different today from 170 years ago. The chancel was only added in the 1930s and the present ceiling hides the beams and woodwork of the original roof.
In November 1940, during the Second World War, the church was bombed and much of the stained glass was lost and repairs to the church altered many of the 19th century details.
YourCU is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and offer flexible loans to suit all budgets to repay on a weekly, two-weekly or monthly basis.
The union also covers Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Queenstown and St Mary's Park in Wandsworth. For further information visit: www.yourcu.co.uk or telephone 0207 605 6341 or visit YourCU at 346 High Street, Kensington, W14 8NS.