We know it’s not the ‘done thing’ to be caught blowing your own trumpet, but here at Pennine Community Credit Union we’re rightly proud of the positive role we play in the lives of our account holders, and in the local community as a whole. That’s why we celebrate the achievements of the last twelve months at an annual general meeting. The 2017 AGM was the 35th of its kind and celebrated another year of providing ethical savings and affordable loans to people in the Pennine area.
The event took place at the 1882 Lounge Turf Moor and, despite the typically terrible weather, was well attended by account holders and guests alike. The event was an opportunity for account holders to find out exactly how the previous year had gone and the direction being mapped out for the future. It was also a celebration of the work which PCCU has done in helping to foster improvements in the Boroughs of Burnley & Pendle, and of our commitment to making a donation to a specially chosen local organisation which benefits the community.
PCCU President Gerard Spain set out the financial details of the year just gone, and the hugely positive outlook for PCCU. Perhaps the most significant fact of all was that PCCU is still entirely self-sufficient and that, far from needing funding from external sources, had a 2016 surplus of £105k, up from £100k the year before. Shares had grown by an impressive 17%, whilst the loan book had remained stable and the Bank balance rose to a figure of £3.1m. What this meant was that, for the first time ever, the bank held more assets than it had out on loan. President Spain, whilst welcoming the steady growth in assets, set out the need for there to be more people accessing lending. His vision for the future was for continued financial stability combined with a deeper and more effective reach into the community.
It was announced that the organisation in receipt of the annual donation of £400 was Spacious Place Engage, which is based in Trafalgar Street in Burnley and engages in a range of activities aimed at helping the most vulnerable local people. As Managing Director Mark Hirst explained, this means offering services such as a food bank with home delivery, a re-paint scheme which sells surplus paint to local people at bargain prices, rather than see it being ignored or disposed of, and a football project which reaches out to the unemployed and those recently released from prison. Details of the latest Spacious Place Engage initiative were also set out. This involves selling brand name furniture at affordable prices and, as Mr Hirst pointed out, offers an excellent opportunity for people to take advantage of PCCU’s affordable loans and easy saving.
The wider picture of the impact which Pennine Community Credit Union is capable of having was then presented by the CEO of Burnley Borough Council Pam Smith and local MP Julie Cooper. Speaking as members of PCCU, both were upbeat about the prospects for Burnley whilst being realistic about the challenges which the town and its inhabitants still face. They were also both extremely keen to applaud the work done by Pennine Community Credit Union and highlight the role it would have to play in the future, particularly when it comes to helping local people facing financial hardship.
All in all the event was the perfect combination of a celebration of the year gone by and a rallying call for an even better year in 2017. We even found time to launch our new ‘Like and Share’ competition. This is a monthly social media competition, and the first winner was Jennifer Hillary, who took home a stunning bouquet created by Going Dutch Florist, Manchester Road, Nelson. If you’d like to take part in the next competition, and win a prize purchased from a local company, then keep a careful eye on our Facebook page @PCCUlancashire.