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Third anniversary plans for Darlington Credit Union
A CREDIT union that offers people in financial difficulty an alternative to doorstep lenders and loan sharks is preparing to celebrate its third anniversary with a membership drive.
Darlington Credit Union (DCU) was formed in September 2009, as an amalgamation of four smaller credit unions that previously existed across the borough - south Darlington, Cockerton Churches, North Darlington and Firthmoor, Eastbourne and Lascelles.
Since the amalgamation, DCU has seen its membership multiply to more than 2,000.
Co-ordinator Tony Brockley says the organisation is targeting a membership of about 5,000.
DCU, which is a not-for-profit organisation and is based in Church Row, in Darlington town centre, offers a savings and investment service to its members, as well as loans at an affordable rate of interest.
Mr Brockley said: “There has been a credit union in the town since 1988 and because organisations like this rely heavily on volunteers, it was decided the best move going forward was to have one credit union for the whole of Darlington.
“The membership numbers we have now are at least five times what we inherited.
“The best way of describing credit unions is as a communal savings and loan scheme.
“It is for the people of Darlington, all our members live or work here and we look for people to invest money with us and any money we make is given to members in the form of a dividend each year.”
Anyone taking out a loan with DCU would pay just 1.5 per cent interest on the debt, said Mr Brockley.
An open day will be held at the organisation on Saturday, from 10am to 4pm.
The first 100 new members to sign up will see their initial £1 investment, as well as a £1 one-off joining fee, swelled with an additional gifted £5 from DCU.
Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, who has been a supporter of the organisation, will cut a celebratory birthday cake as part of the event.
Anyone interested in joining the scheme can go along to Saturday’s event, call 01325-520005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org