Barrow Credit Union (BCU) opened its doors to the public on 22 February 2013. Throughout that time, the organisation has primarily been served by volunteer staff, without whose hard work and commitment, it is doubtful whether Barrow would indeed have a Credit Union.
Since its inception BCU has had a wide variety of volunteers ranging from those who have retired but want to put something back in to the community to those looking to get a foot on the rungs of the employment ladder.
Director of Barrow Credit Union, Suzanne Edgley, says: “Without detracting from the importance of our paid staff, it is the volunteers that are the heartbeat of Barrow Credit Union. We have had a really strong stalwart of volunteers from day one but we also have a real success story to tell.
“Since we started out almost four years ago now, over 70% of those who have volunteered have gone on to find permanent employment. Whilst this causes us obvious operational issues, nevertheless this is a statistic of which we are really proud.
“The range of skills that we can offer to volunteers is broad and give people a really firm foot on the ladder in terms of experience and something really positive to add to their CV.”
Roles for volunteers range from providing accounts support or interviewing members for loans to front of house reception as well as specialising in marketing and IT.
Mrs Edgley added: “We hope to continue this success story throughout 2017 and we are presently looking to broaden the range of skills in our volunteer pool and with our membership increasing all the time, we need more volunteers to be able to carry out loan interviews.”
Barrow Credit Union’s Operations Manager, Caroline Portis, started out as part of the volunteer team. Caroline says: “I’ve been involved with the Credit Union since the very beginning and when the opportunity came up for an employed position as Finance Officer, it was not only my AAT studies that helped but my knowledge of the Credit Union having volunteered here since day one. All of this experience has helped me to progress through to my current role as Operations Manager and I am able to work with and mentor our current volunteers in the hope that they too will find work.”
Christopher Wadeson is part of the Barrow Credit Union success story. Having been a volunteer he has gone on to find paid employment elsewhere. Christopher said: “The Credit Union was a great first step on the ladder. You gain valuable job experience without the demands of a paid role. Because you’re giving your time for free, you get great backing from a supportive team. You learn that attitude is everything and you’re motivated to go on to bigger and better things.”
If you would like to put yourself forward as a volunteer at Barrow Credit Union, you can either go to the website at www.barrowdistrictcu.co.uk or contact the Operations Manager, Caroline Portis, on 01229 870110 or at firstname.lastname@example.org