Financial exclusion tackled by charity

A CHARITY has helped dozens of otherwise financially excluded islanders to open a bank account.

Bailiff Richard McMahon, second right, is patron of Guernsey Community Savings (29878312)
Bailiff Richard McMahon, second right, is patron of Guernsey Community Savings (29878312)

Guernsey Community Savings has enabled access to basic financial services, having helped almost 40 people open an account, get a debit card and have a means to save.

It also provides basic budgeting advice and soon hopes to offer small loans for clients to overcome a financial crisis.

‘By arranging basic banking services for residents who have been unable to obtain accounts, Guernsey Community Savings enables them to take their place in and contribute to their community. The charity is providing a vital service – it is an essential piece of what can be a complicated social jigsaw puzzle,’ said GCS patron Bailiff Richard McMahon.

The charity has been in operation for around a year and it recently received a £2,000 donation from the Sure

Community Foundation.

The money enabled GCS to obtain a telephone landline and broadband connection as well as two mobile phones loaded with credit.

‘We know how much it means to our clients to be able to have a bank account and the mobile phones and voicemail in the office mean we can be available to them in real time. And the credit in our Sure account means we don’t have to worry about financing phone bills and can focus our resources on helping the people who need us,’ said GCS general manager Jane Kerins.

GCS’s services are particularly important for people recently released from prison hoping to re-integrate with society.

‘Without proof of address or an official photo, it is impossible to open a bank account, making it harder to get a job which, in turn, makes it difficult to find a permanent address – a vicious circle. By giving access to an account, GCS is key to our clients beginning a new life,’ said Mary Herve, co-ordinator of Guernsey Caring for Ex-Offenders.

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