Credit unions in rural areas In the UK the use of expensive payday loan companies and high-cost credit is on the rise. Credit unions, whilst not a direct substitute for payday loans, can be a good long term alternative; as they offer products suited to individual needs with affordable interest rates. However, many people in the UK are unaware of the services offered by credit unions or even of their existence and rural coverage is patchy. Janet Wilkinson has been appointed as a project consultant through a collaborative venture run by the Arthur Rank Centre (ARC), Plunkett Foundation and The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council, with the backing of the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL ) and the Methodist Church and United Reformed Church. Janet will be researching the ways in which local rural communities can work together to tackle issues related to rural poverty, what’s working well and opportunities for rural shops, churches, credit unions and others to work together to come up with new ideas that work in different locations. At this stage, Janet would be interested in talking to the people behind a number of rural shops to understand a variety of different local views about how rural shops help everyone in their community, particularly those on low or very restricted incomes. She has a reasonable flexibility to speak on the phone during the day, at evenings and weekends to suit you for a conversation lasting around 30 minutes. If you would like Janet to contact you, please send your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01993 810730 and Janet will be in touch.