Credit Union volunteer wins national award

Susan Higgs from New Tredegar has received a national title in the Credit Union of Wales Awards.

Susan from Phillipstown was judged Volunteer of the Year following a nomination by Smart Money Cymru Credit Union.

She received her award from BBC broadcaster Jennifer Jones at the prestigious event in Cardiff Bay.

Susan said: “This is such a wonderful surprise and I am very grateful to Smart Money Cymru for nominating me for such a prestigious award. It means more than anyone can imagine.”

Susan has been a volunteer with the credit union for 14 years and was one of the main founders for opening Phillipstown Community Service point for the benefit of local residents.

Along with her late friend Elaine Moore, she contacted the credit union to discuss how they could bring it into their neighborhood due to problems of illegal money lenders operating in an area of deprivation.

 Susan and Elaine were passionate about their community and helping families move to an ethical and safe borrowing platform taking them away from high interest and illegal lenders, plus encouraging regular savings.  

 Andrina Davies, General Manager of Smart Money Cymru Credit Union added: “The passion and drive both ladies showed over the years in promoting the service point throughout the community enabled us to develop other volunteers and service points using this blueprint.

“Unfortunately Elaine has now passed away but the legacy is still living on with Susan, who continues their story in the community and still heads up the service point weekly at the community house.”

Susan was one of eight award winners at The Pierhead which also welcomed Jane Hutt AM, Patron of the Credit Unions of Wales who is spearheading a campaign for Welsh people to take a stand against high cost credit providers.

It comes following an announcement that people in Wales are more susceptible to over-indebtedness than any other country in the UK, with 440,000 at risk of being unable to keep up with credit repayments.

According to the study by the Money Advice Service, more than one in six people in Wales are at risk of being unable to keep up with credit repayments

Michael Sheen, actor and founder of the End High Cost Credit Alliance said: “As a Patron of Credit Unions of Wales it’s an honour to support the awards in raising the profile of the great achievements made this year.

“Fair and responsible finance that can respond to the real needs of people in communities across Wales and the rest of the UK is core to my mission with the End High Cost Credit Alliance, of which I’m proud to say Credit Unions of Wales is an important member.

“For the movement to win the battle against high cost credit, we need effective providers and that includes credit unions. So today is a great opportunity to showcase what works and to raise the profile so that more people join their local credit union. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.”

The Credit Unions of Wales Awards were sponsored by ABCUL, Change Account, Engage and supported by the Welsh Government.

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