MURSTON Community Bank, a branch of Kent Savers' Credit Union,
based at All Saints', Murston, in Canterbury
diocese, encourages people to save, but not to draw their savings
out too readily.
Phil Bromwich, the churchwarden, who is also "bank manager",
says that, since opening their doors last January, the volunteers
who run the Murston Community Bank and Drop-in Centre have helped
people to save about £47,000, but to gain access to loans of only
"When people visit us and say they want a loan, we sit them down
and have a chat over a cuppa. Usually, we find they are very open
to discussing their problems with us, and that actually the last
thing they really need is a loan. We can signpost them to
organisations that may help them resolve the problem without
getting them deeper into debt."
A key partner working with the bank is the Citizens Advice
Bureau, which holds an advice surgery each week to tackle debt,
legal issues, marriage matters,and so on. "When anyone arrives,"
Dianne Smith, one of the volunteers, says, "they are offered a cup
of tea or coffee and a space to sit down, and we take it from
Now the bank has launched a Christmas savings account for
families. The assistant curate at All Saints', the Revd Lesley
Jones, says: "We have met a lot of families who really struggle to
save. When we have talked about an account [where] you can save as
little a £1 a week, their response is very enthusiastic."
But one of its biggest attractions is is the condition that
withdrawals cannot be made until mid-November, just in time for