Hundreds of secondary school starters in Haringey have a opened a free £20 credit union savings account as part of a landmark financial awareness scheme by Haringey Council.
Application packs have been sent to nearly 3,000 Haringey pupils starting Year 7 this term for a School Savers account with London Capital Credit Union, with nearly 200 students already signing up.
The council-funded scheme, the first of its kind in England, is designed to encourage children to get into the savings habit and promote alternatives to unscrupulous payday loan companies.
Accompanied by financial management lessons in schools, accounts are ‘locked in’ for two years, with students and their parents encouraged to add to their savings where possible.
Councillor Joe Goldberg, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Sustainability, said: “We want our children to be given every opportunity to learn about money and the different financial options available as they grow up.
“Giving every Year 7 child an account with a responsible credit union will give them a chance to start saving early on in life and understand the alternatives to the scourge of legal loan sharks colonising our high streets.”
Haringey Council has provided £750,000 in loans to the credit union in the last two years, which has more than 3,000 members in the borough – and the fastest growing contingent of anywhere in London.
The credit union – a co-operative that is owned and controlled by its members – has issued affordable loans worth almost £1 million since October 2012 and holds more than £1 million in savings from Haringey residents.
Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Haringey Council in this way to encourage children to learn the importance of saving and budgeting.
“This monetary incentive is a fantastic way to get Haringey children to open savings accounts and for their families to benefit from the services of the credit union.”
Every Year 7 child who lives in Haringey or attends a school in the borough is eligible for an account, which can be opened by simply returning the application form sent to all pupils.