Bridgend schoolchildren named award-winning savers

School children in Bridgend are celebrating their achievements after winning a prestigious Credit Unions of Wales award for running a successful savings club.

St Robert’s Primary School received the “School Partnership Award” after running a j savings scheme which not only teaches children the importance of financial wellbeing, but also develops their literacy and numeracy skills.

The award was presented by BBC broadcaster Roy Noble at The Pierhead, Cardiff Bay on Thursday 20 October – International Credit Union Day.

Headteacher Carmen Beveridge said: “We are absolutely overjoyed to be named School Partner of the Year because our staff and students are dedicated savers with our local credit union.

“We recognise how important this partnership is because it not only develops children’s understanding and appreciation of finance, but helps build their confidence, communication, organisational and numeracy skills in the process.”

The school approached Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union to set up a regular savings club but with the arrival of Covid-19 struggled with a lack of space during periods of social distancing.

Alternatively, families were signposted to the main credit union office, where children kept up their savings habit.

As soon as it was practical, the savings club re-opened, with some children bringing in two-years’ worth of pennies and pounds in their piggy banks.

The school currently has around 192 pupils, with 119 active savers (including staff and siblings), or the equivalent of over 60%.

Nicola Field, Chief Executive of Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union said: “Despite the enforced break, the children’s enthusiasm had not waned and it was lovely to see them queuing in the hallway to save their money.

“Beyond weekly savings, St. Robert’s have had a winning entry for the CUW Christmas Card competition. It is genuinely an excellent school to work with – the atmosphere is always so positive.”

Tom Owens, Manager of Progress Systems Ltd who sponsored the event said: ““The Credit Unions of Wales Awards illustrate the commitment and dedication of businesses, workers, organisations, members and volunteers towards the global credit union movement.

“It shows how credit unions are building communities and helping people manage their finances for a better future.”

The Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “Credit unions offer an ethical and affordable way of saving and borrowing for us all. They are a way we can contribute as a community to support those who are experiencing hardship, debt and poverty. This is more important than ever in light of the current cost-of-living crisis.

“We can all help underpin this ethical borrowing and saving service for those who need it as an alternative to payday loans.
“I believe that together we can make a huge difference to the financial wellbeing of people across our nation.

“Congratulations to all of the winners for all they do to further the incredible work of ethical savings and loan providers across Wales.”

Thanks to the ongoing support of Welsh Government, the Credit Unions of Wales Awards took place at The Pierhead on Cardiff Bay before an audience of almost 100 guests.

There were eight categories with a winner and highly commended named for each. The awards were presented by BBC broadcaster Roy Noble OBE.

The Credit Unions of Wales Awards took place on International Credit Union Day (Thursday 20 October)

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