The Lord Lieutenant of Durham, Sue Snowden, has given her backing to an innovative scheme run by the Diocese of Durham to get more people involved with their local credit union. The Lord Lieutenant joined the Prince Bishops Community Bank in Stanley during a visit she made with the Right Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow to highlight the work of the bank and its collaboration in the Diocese of Durham’s ‘Why Wouldn’t You?’ campaign. The campaign launched in November 2013 aims to promote church members joining their local credit unions / community banks and use of their facilities. The Prince Bishops Community Bank is a not for profit organisation whose membership is limited to people who live or work within the boundary of County Durham, which means that money saved by members benefits local people in the form of easily accessible and affordable low cost loans. This is particularly valuable for those who have difficulty borrowing at affordable rates of interest from mainstream financial providers and who might otherwise turn to loan sharks or other doorstep lenders. Prince Bishops Community Bank is supported by other organisations in providing its range of services including home goods via its ‘The Store’ – offering affordable weekly payment retail purchases, Debt Support, Household Contents Insurance and a range of other allied services. Sue said: “It has been fascinating and invaluable to find out about the diversity of work being done. It is amazing the way they support people who may have problems managing their finances. “This is all part of an education process. Why would you not get involved? It is an example of people looking after people and that is important. It is vital work. “People working together can achieve and what I am seeing is people working together to improve life for people. So much can be achieved by working together and this is a prime example.” Bishop of Jarrow, the Right Revd Mark Bryant, who invited Sue, said: “It is wonderful that the Lord Lieutenant visited because it is her endorsing what we are doing. “There is a growing sense that credit unions and community banks have a key role to play in communities where life is tough for people. Some people are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet and credit unions can help.” Credit union manager Lesley Richardson said: ”It has been a great pleasure to have the Lord Lieutenant to visit. The support of people like the Lord Lieutenant, the Bishop of Jarrow and Churches helps open up avenues that had not really been open to us.” The visit also highlighted the recently launched work of national network of churches, communities and credit unions, which is backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Lending. The Church Credit Champions Network aims to create a network of people who will bring together churches, communities and responsible lenders.