A member’s story

Please see this amazing story from one of our members:

“My story will not be unique and I’m sure that lots of people out there have suffered just as much, and worse, but as they say, it’s not the falling down that defines you, but how you get back up.

To cut a very long story short, I had been living month to month, hand to mouth, for a very, very long time – years and years in fact. From the outside, no-one would have known…. I had a full time career that was going really well and by the time I discovered the credit union, my children were young adults, but were far from standing on their own two feet.

I supported them heavily and financially it was crippling me. Rather than admit that, I very quickly found myself in “short term loan” quick sand. Before I knew it, I was robbing Peter, to pay Paul and my rent was the last thing I was paying. My arrears grew and grew and grew to the point that my LL took action against me and served me with a Notice. I quickly made a panic arrangement with them to find some breathing space and paid some money to them, not really understanding the impact of the fact that they had received a Suspended Order based on the arrangement I had essentially made up and had had to obtain another short term loan for.

I was choking. The situation was actually suffocating me, but still I said nothing to anyone. Ignoring post, ignoring phone calls, the walls closing in on me….. one day I came home to discover that my electricity supplier had forced entry and fitted a key meter with my electric cut off until I paid my arrears! It just couldn’t get any worse could it? I researched on-line whether my debt would be written off if I killed myself so that in the very least my children could be free from the awful situation I was placing them in. I was too scared to see that one through. I felt a complete failure.

One day, my worst nightmare played out before my eyes. I opened a letter with a bailiff warrant for my eviction! I broke down – had to admit to my children that I had failed them and a few days later, found myself begging a District Judge to spare me eviction, having arranged to sleep on a friend’s sofa should my plea not be heard. My children had approached their friends for the same. By the grace of God the Judge spared me and granted me a Stay, on very specific terms, but much more affordable terms than the nonsense arrangement I had previously made with my LL. SHE LITERALLY SAVED MY LIFE.

That was D Day. I got home from court, unpacked the bags I had packed and started the rest of my life. I telephoned everyone I owed money to and worked out what it was I owed and how much I could afford to re-pay! I was so very surprised to learn that by speaking honestly about my situation, help was out there and there was no shame in admitting I couldn’t afford previous agreed amounts.

One day I overheard a colleague talking about their credit union loan and decided this was worth looking into for me, and so I made an application to join, making a really small saving each month. I felt that if it was taken direct from my salary, it was a better way for me to save as the money wouldn’t technically reach my bank account and I would feel like I was paying out, if that makes sense.

As with any road to recovery….mine was rocky and no sooner did I feel like I was slowly getting my head above water, than my daughter announced a pregnancy and all I saw was pound signs. I had to help her…I couldn’t watch her go without even the basics, so I turned to Credit Union – I absolutely knew there was no other option for me – not because I be refused a short term loan from anyone – I’m sure they’d have jumped at the chance to get me into even more debt, but because I knew I needed a sensible option.

I applied for a savers loan and received a call from the manager as I was considered “high risk”. She was kind and understanding and listened carefully to me. After some begging and lots of tears and assurances that the loan would actually help me out of a really dark state due to the savings element, the loan was agreed.

Three years later, my life couldn’t be more different. I am debt free and for the first time in my life, an active saver!!! It feels incredible and Credit Union has helped enormously. I would not have had the discipline to start saving without the deduction from salary and no matter how small a start you make, seeing the balance increase month on month is the best feeling ever!!”

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