Supporting a Stronger Civil Society
An Office for Civil Society consultation on improving support for frontline civil society organisations
Credit unions match exactly the foundations of the ‘Big Society’. As not-for-profit, ethical, co-operatives, credit unions are driven by the needs of their communities. They provide financial services for the benefit of members, not financial returns for far-off shareholders.
Credit unions could potentially play an important role in supporting other civil society groups by mobilising community wealth in support of front-line civic groups being developed by the Big Society.
Over the past decade credit unions have worked towards a more sustainable model. The next step in their development requires investment in a national infrastructure in order to provide scalable and consistent services.
Back office infrastructure – as has been seen in many other parts of the world – is the key to unlocking the full potential of credit unions. And this could mean credit union services being made available in 11,500 Post Office branches, increasing credit union visibility, accessibility and supporting sustainable development. This crucial investment decision lies with the Government.
The sector would also benefit from complementary support mechanisms, such as a volunteer hub and stabilisation fund. Developments like these would increase access to credit unions, make the sector stronger and better able to support Big Society groups.
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