What the WFCCU means to its members
In 2008 I found myself out of work and with a large overdraft that swallowed up my benefits each month. I was vaguely aware that the Credit Union might be able to help so I got in touch to see what they could offer.
At the time, despite being a UK citizen, I didn’t have a valid passport, and without that I had no proof that I was able to work in the UK. Of course, without work, I didn’t even have the money for a passport.
Initially, the WFCCU set me up with a number of small loans to pay for a passport and to help get me back into work. They started me on the saving’s ladder, taught me how to organise my finances and, with their support, helped me get back into employment.
A new job, together with the computer course I’d started, opened my eyes to a world of work that I’d never been aware of. I realised I needed some practical office experience and talked to the WFCCU about volunteering. Again they were brilliant and started me on reception, helping me to gain the experience and the confidence I needed to take the next step in my career.
Now my career is taking off and after a short break, I’m back volunteering at the WFCCU. When you join the Credit Union you become part of a cycle of goodwill where support, expertise and money flow between the members, the volunteers and the staff.
You get out of it what you’re prepared to put in and everyone benefits. It’s something we should all be a part of.
When I moved to London I didn’t have a penny to my name – not even a bank account. Someone on my estate suggested I join the credit union and I haven’t looked back.
At the time I was a serious drug user and I’m ashamed to admit that I even had to steal to put food on the table for my kids. Since joining the WFCCU, though, my life has changed beyond measure.
Initially, I was just having my income support paid into an account but it wasn’t long before the staff started encouraging me to save. I don’t use drugs at all now and I save every penny I can. The WFCCU have taught me how to budget and keep my household bills down, and they’ve even shown me how to save money on my food shopping.
With my savings I’ve been able to buy my son a car, I’ve helped my daughter with her new flat and this time next year I’ll be enjoying a holiday in the Caribbean!
I love my life and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. My fridge is always full and I can look after my kids, my grandchildren and my dog. I don’t have to hide anymore when someone comes to the door in case I owe them money and I always pay my own way.
I still have the occasional bad day but because the guys at the WFCCU know me so well, they make sure I only use my savings for the things I’ve planned. I can’t praise them enough and I’m constantly telling people about the benefits of the credit union - I’ve even encouraged my son and daughter to join.
Just a couple of years ago I had nothing, not a penny. I was living hand-to-mouth and I really couldn’t see a way out. Now I have plans - I want to finish my degree and eventually get back to work. Before I joined the WFCCU none of this would have been possible.
When I graduated from University with a degree in Accounting and Finance I fully expected to walk straight into a job in banking. But without any experience I couldn’t get a job, and without a job, I couldn’t get any experience...
I decided to break the cycle and volunteer with the WFCCU but I got more than I bargained for.
In the two years since I joined I’ve not only learned a huge amount about finance but I’ve seen the effect it can have on people’s lives. I’ve seen the damage that high interest rates and bank charges can cause to families, and I’ve seen my colleagues at the WFCCU work tirelessly to help people get their lives back on track.
The WFCCU has allowed me to follow my interests and I moved from auditing in Finance to the Loans side when a permanent job came up. Despite the fact that I was already a volunteer, I went through an incredibly rigorous recruitment process including a nerve- wracking test and interview before finally being told I had the job!
By volunteering, I’ve been able to put into practice everything I learned at University and get the experience I desperately needed. I’ve also gained confidence and I’m no longer timid or shy about speaking out and voicing my opinion.
Above all, I've come to realise that I could never work for a bank now. In fact, I don’t think I could work for any organisation that didn’t genuinely help people and improve their lives.
If the WFCCU job hadn’t come up when it did, I’d still happily be volunteering with them.
Have something to say about this website? click here