A Rhymney Valley financial co-operative, BAG Credit Union, has secured backing from Communities 2.0, the Welsh Government’s digital inclusion programme. The support will enable the credit union to purchase a new server and up to date hardware so that it can operate more efficiently.
Communities 2.0 has supported BAG (Bargoed, Aberbargoed and Gilfach) Credit Union with an investment of nearly £3000 and has also provided technical advice and expertise. Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Government programme which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The investment is part of a bigger programme of development which will see the Credit Union launching a new website so that Credit Union users will be able to access their accounts online.
BAG Credit Union will be better able to use ICT to support its growth and development. This will lead to improved security, efficiency and better customer service.
BAG (Bargoed Aberbargoed and Gilfach) Credit Union was established in 1992 to help people in the Upper Rhymney Valley to take control of their finances. The business aims to provide a safe and secure place for members to save with access to loans at a reasonable rate of interest.
BAG also aims to educate members in the management of their finances and monetary decisions. All members of the community within Upper Rhymney are encouraged to join and get the benefits of saving whatever amount they can afford. Loans are also offered to savers at reasonable rates which will hopefully prevent members of the Credit Union and the community borrowing money from door step lenders.
In 2012 BAG Credit Union extended their area to include the whole of the Upper Rhymney Valley and small additional areas to the South.
Pam Farrant is Treasurer of BAG Credit Union,
“BAG Credit Union has been servicing members for over 20 years and are pleased that with the support from Communities 2.0, we can continue to help existing and new members from throughout our extended common bond to gain access to their accounts over the web while improving the organisation’s ICT ready for future growth”.
Communities 2.0 project director Cathryn Marcus commented:
“Communities 2.0 is delighted to be able to add its support to these essential improvements which will allow BAG Credit Union to continue to grow and improve its services to its members. Credit Unions offer an essential service at a community level and they are an important tool in the fight against poverty”.
This investment is just part of a total of over £75,000 invested across Wales as part of this round of Communities 2.0 funding. To date over £540,000 has been approved for direct investment in social enterprises and micro businesses in Wales, supporting 100 enterprises.
In addition, Communities 2.0 has supported 267 enterprises with significant assistance and advice for adopting or exploiting Information Communication Technology. Over 330 community groups and organisations have also benefitted from significant assistance and advice from the project, many of whom have used this to inform the creation of new social enterprises.
Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Government programme and is part of the Delivering a Digital Wales strategy. Communities 2.0 is delivered by four partner organisations – the Wales Co-operative Centre, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services, Carmarthenshire County Council and the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling (University of South Wales). Communities 2.0 works in the Convergence area of Wales and parts of Wrexham, Flintshire and Powys, helping communities and small enterprises to make the most of the internet.