DONCASTER has officially launched its latest bid to stamp out loan sharks - and hundreds have flocked to use the new service.
The South Yorkshire Credit Union opened its latest branch at Queensgate, in the Waterdale shopping centre, in November - but this week was launched officially by Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton.
The credit union allows members to save and borrow at low interest rates.
The organisation also offers advice on ways to manage money and help people avoid having to go to extremes, such as a loan sharks, to borrow money.
Since opening its doors at the end of last year, 344 new members have joined the new Waterdale branch of the credit union.
During the same period some 323 loans have been issued at a total value of £123,465.
MP Ms Winterton cut a ribbon to open the site, and gave her backing to its work.
She said: “South Yorkshire Credit Union has been an advocate of the financially excluded for many years.
“Everybody should be entitled to a bank account and be given advice on how to save money because financial exclusion and debt can be a barrier to employment.”
She said the success of the SYCU has, in the main, been due to the support it has received from the Department of Work and Pensions’ Growth Fund.
She believes the fund has allowed it to respond in a meaningful way to the needs of financially excluded people in Barnsley and Doncaster.
Credit Unions are not-for-profit community co-operatives.
The services they offer include providing savings and loans controlled by their members and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
South Yorkshire Credit Union was formed by the amalgamation of Barnsley, Doncaster and Little Dearne Credit Unions and now has a total membership of 14,500 members and 1,900 junior members.
In the last financial year SYCU made a total of 11,559 loans, worth a total value of £4,486,326 to its members.
SYCU now has six shop premises, three in Doncaster in the town centre.