HAVING passed the halfway to Christmas mark, the Credit Unions of Wales are encouraging families to start saving now to put a stop to money worries during this year’s festive season. People in Wales are the second highest Christmas spenders in the UK, with the average Welsh household spending £596 on gifts each year. By setting aside £24 a week from this week on, families will be able to save their annual spend in advance of Christmas. This way they can avoid falling into debt and will only pay as much as they spend, rather than having to pay back interest on top of a loan to help them cover the cost. There are 21 credit unions in Wales and many of them offer special Christmas Saver accounts which ‘lock’ your monthly savings until November. This means you can only access your savings when it’s time for present shopping and won’t be tempted to spend them on something else before Christmas arrives. Several also offer incentives, such as a £10 bonus so people can start saving straight away or entering all account holders into a December prize draw. Many credit unions across Wales also offer low-interest Christmas loans which can be paid off within a year with small weekly payments. One example is Cardigan-based West Wales Credit Union which offers a £100 Christmas loan with weekly payments of £2.33 and a total repayment of £112.70. The Credit Unions of Wales have recently joined forces to participate in a Wales-wide marketing campaign to encourage more people to save, borrow or invest with their local credit union. Campaign spokesperson and General Manager of North Wales Credit Union, Barry Roberts, said: “Thousands of households across Wales struggle to balance their gift budgets with paying bills on time, but thankfully Christmas isn’t one of those unforeseen expenses such as a broken boiler or car repairs so you can prepare for it. “We’d always recommend saving in advance for such occasions so that you’ve already covered the cost before you incur it and by starting now you’ll be well ahead. “If you don’t manage to save everything you need in time, we also offer Christmas loans with much lower interest rates than payday lenders and we make sure you only borrow as much as you can afford. “With all of the sales on over the summer, it’s even worth thinking about taking out a loan now so that you can get your gifts at a better price and pay off the cost before Christmas arrives.” Credit unions are regulated by the same supervisory bodies as banks and customers’ savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but credit unions offer additional member benefits such as no hidden admin costs, set-up fees or early repayment charges. Credit unions have no third party shareholders which means dividends are paid to savers instead, and they don’t rely on automated credit checks so all loan decisions are ultimately made by a real person. There are 21 Credit Unions across Wales, which means that everyone in Wales has a local credit union they can join. To find yours, visit www. creditunionsofwales.co.uk
Time given to develop Parc Natur Penglais
VOLUNTEERS, including students, have given around 500 hours of their time to develop Parc Natur Penglais.
Along with support from Ceredigion County Council, the Group have built around 100 steps in 5 different places which has made the park a great place to walk, play and enjoy around a number of safe paths.
Councillor Mark Strong said: “Knowing that we have the support of the local community makes such a difference to peoples’ enthusiasm and having the grant from Aberystwyth Town Council, Cambrian News and Tesco made it possible. Volunteers can make a relatively small sum of money go long way.”
RSPCA aim for Christmas number one
MUSIC fans across Wales can help the RSPCA secure the Christmas number one slot, and provide vital support for animals in need across the country.
The animal welfare charity has thrown its hat into the ring to claim the festive chart accolade – as up-and-coming singer Lucy Ellie covers Simply Red’s hit song ’Stars’ in aid of the RSPCA.
‘Stars’ is the soundtrack to the charity’s ‘Kindness at Christmas’ video, which has already gone viral with over two million views online across a variety of platforms.
The tear-jerking video tells the story of Woody the Christmas toy pup who who is thrown out with the rubbish before being rescued and taken in for care by the RSPCA.
Proceeds from the single are being donated to the RSPCA to help in their work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming thousands of animals every year.
RSPCA Cymru is again bracing itself for a busy festive period. In December 2016 and January 2017 alone, in Wales, 5,932 incidents were reported to the RSPCA – with 141 of these on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Lucy Ellie Cooper, who works at the charity, said: “This was a lovely opportunity for me to combine my two loves – animals and music.
“Outside of my job at the RSPCA I am a country music singer and songwriter, so when the chance came up to record such a fantastic and well-known song for the charity’s Christmas video, I jumped at it. I really hope people will take Woody’s story into their hearts and support the RSPCA this winter.”
You can help the RSPCA rescue, rehabilitate and re-home animals in desperate need of care, and support the charity’s ‘kindness’ campaign online
Charity games raise over £2000
NOT all heroes wear capes and Tesco Aberystwyth’s very own Community Champion, Natasha Worrall has proven this raising a staggering £2,096.27 for local and national charities.
Natasha, the brainchild behind the charity football events, came up with the idea first off by challenging Tesco’s neighbours, Marks and Spencer’s, to a football match, she quickly set her powers to work and contacted Aberystwyth Football club who were more than happy to help and allowed use of the pitch.
The Big Day arrived, there was a lot of tension and passion on the pitch that night, it was more than just about winning a match it was the status, the pride and most of all bringing people together to raise money for three great causes; Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Mind. Hundreds of supporters braved the cold October evening to support the players and Tesco stole the show with a 7-1 victory and an amazing £607 was raised.
Natasha now had a taste of success under her cape and wanted to really get this event of the ground and challenged supermarket rivals, Morrisons to a match! The response for Tesco vs Morrisons was just what Natasha wanted and a November date was set.
Tesco now had experience in their boots and both teams had everything to play for. Victory once again went to Tesco who pipped Morrisons at the post and clawed back to a 5-4 victory raising a further £648.15 for Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Clic Sargent.
In true football fashion Natasha wanted a hat trick but could Team Tesco achieve this? Last Sunday (Dec 3) seemed the perfect opportunity and the opponents who were up for the challenge came from Bronglais Hospital and their chosen charity Pila Pala, Llwyn yr Eos. What a match! And what great team to take victory, Hywel Dda 2 – Tesco – 0. A rematch could certainly be on the cards especially as they raised the biggest amount ever of £841.12.
Behind every success there is always great team and working with Natasha and the players a number of local heroes who helped, Ruth’s kitchen provided heroic meals for all the players for a £1 donation, Aberystwyth women’s Team loaned their footballs, the Referees, linesmen, stewards, security, first aiders and ball boys and girls who all donated their time free of charge.
Team Tesco are looking for more opponents to play and raise even more money for local charities, if you are interested please call into Tesco store and see Natasha.
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