A NEW credit union has been set up in Newport East Community Centre to help residents save and borrow at an affordable rate.

Sian Evans, 39, from Newport, brought the union to the centre and believes it is the safer alternative to lending from other means.

There are now more than 2,500 members in the Newport Credit Union and it is still growing, with the latest collection point in Lliswerry joining ones already in Bettws, Maesglas, Gaer, St Julian’s and Ringland.

“I think it’s getting popular because it gives some stability to saving,” said Mrs Evans.

“People can deposit the money and if they need it again then they can take it back at any point if they wish to.

“But other people can join the Christmas Savers where there is limited access to your money which means that they can’t spend it before Christmas comes along.

“People also have to come into the centre and withdraw the money rather than using a cash point so it saves on any temptation to spend.”

People can deposit at the Newport East Community Centre, in Moorland Park, every Tuesday, where a trained volunteer will be waiting.

When a member has been saving for upwards of 10 weeks they are then able to apply for a loan.

If they pay into their account by cash then they can apply for a loan that is twice as much, whereas if they pay in via standing order then they are allowed to apply for a loan up to three times as much as their savings.

The rates of interest are lower than you would get elsewhere and that is one of the main reasons that Mrs Evans introduced it to the Newport East Community Centre.

“It gives a lot of people something to fall back on,” she added. “It gives them an option so that they don’t have to go to pay day loan companies that have high levels of interest.

“We used to have a similar thing called smart money in the past which worked well and it’s followed on from that.”