School saver club champion wins credit union award

A school saver club advocate who encouraged more than 1,300 children across Bridgend to save their money regularly has received a prestigious award from the Credit Unions of Wales.

Damian Faulkner, the Business Development Manager at Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union received the “Outstanding Member of Staff” award from BBC broadcaster Roy Noble OBE at The Pierhead in Cardiff Bay on Thursday 20 October – International Credit Union Day.

Damian said: “School saver clubs are essential for children across the whole of Wales because it not only teaches them the importance of being financially resilient but also enhances their numeracy, organisational and communication skills.

“Research shows that encouraging children to save regularly provides them with the secure foundation for the future and helps create adults whose financial wellbeing is significantly better than others.”

Seven years ago Damian developed a savings scheme specifically within local primary schools and it has continued to expand.
Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union now runs savings schemes in 11 primary and one secondary school and the numbers are on the increase.

During the Covid-19 lockdown period, Damian designed, wrote and developed a dedicated School Savings website for parents, teachers and children.

This offered practical information and support to encourage children to continue saving regularly.

Currently, Damian is developing the website to become a financial education toolkit for children and parents, with games and workshops to support financial education.

Nicola Field, Chief Executive of Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union said; “Our School Savings Scheme continues to grow and thrive under Damian’s leadership, showing his commitment and dedication to the project,

“This is not merely a job for Damian but rather a vocation as he is truly an avid supporter of financial education for young children, teaching the importance of saving and practical money skills.”

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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