The Bailiff Richard McMahon has praised the ‘vital service’ offered by Guernsey Community Savings LBG to people who have been financially excluded from society because they have been unable to open a bank account.
Speaking after a visit to the charity’s offices in the Bordage, the Patron of GCS said: "By arranging basic banking services for Guernsey residents who have been unable to obtain accounts, Guernsey Community Savings enables them to take their place in and contribute to their community."
Mr McMahon added: "The charity is providing a vital service – it is an essential piece of what can be a complicated social jigsaw puzzle. It is clear people are confident in the wonderfully simple process and appreciate the personal approach and dedicated support of the team."
The charity took on its first clients last August and now has almost 40 on the books. Each client has an account, a debit card, and a means of building up savings. The charity also provides basic budgeting advice and aims soon to be able to offer small loans to clients to help overcome financial crises.
General Manager Jane Kerins gave the Bailiff an overview of what has been achieved since the charity was set up and the challenges that have been overcome. Manager Liz Pirouet Douglas then took him through the process of setting up an account.
Finally the Bailiff spoke with Guernsey Caring for Ex-Offenders Co-ordinator Mary Herve who explained the particular challenges faced by people who have been recently released from prison.
She said: "Without proof of address or an official photo, it is impossible, to open a bank account, making it harder to get a job, which in turn makes it difficult to find a permanent address – a vicious circle! By giving access to an account, GCS is key to our clients beginning a new life after prison."
Peter Neville, Founder and Chair of GCS, thanked the Bailiff for his visit.
"‘We’re extremely grateful to the Bailiff for being our Patron and for the real interest he has shown in our work today."