NACUW, Community Finance Solutions at the University of Salford and NEF are now working in a number of regions in England and Wales on this partnership approach towards financial inclusion. Extensive feasibility research has been completed in each of these areas which include:
Elsewhere other projects are also delivering new services and economies of scale through this joined-up approach such as in Sheffield through FISY, Blackpool, and Newcastle with FIN.
By winter 2005/6, up to eight ‘CBP pathfinders’ should be participating in a national pilot demonstration project. These will have received investment support from charitable foundations, banks and government bodies including DTI and DWP Financial inclusion Funds.
The goal that the National CBP Demonstration Project sets itself is to demonstrate how to tackle financial exclusion and provide affordable financial services to low-income households in a sustainable manner. Our five main objectives are to:
During the course of the next three-year period the main areas of activity will be:
We believe that this approach will lead to stronger growth across community-based credit unions. It will increase access to affordable financial services by poorer households and provide a robust methodology for minimising the social injustices linked with financial exclusion.
We are really pleased that other sections of the credit union movement such as ABCUL are now following our lead in advocating partnership approaches.