The newly-appointed project manager at Shetland Credit Union says now is the right time to promote its work as more people face increasing financial worries.
Jeff Goddard has taken up the full-time post and wants to promote the service and educate locals about the union and its work.
Formed in 2011, the union aims to help people manage their finances including help with regular savings, budgeting and offering loans, where appropriate.
Mr Goddard, a chartered accountant, has a career in finance and investments. This includes 12 years working at the Shetland Charitable Trust and seven years with Shetland Islands Council.
He is also a past chairman of the management board of Hjaltland Housing Association.
“It’s a particularly appropriate time now to publicise what the credit union can do for people,” Mr Goddard said.
“There’s the increase in utility bills but there’s all sorts of other things as well. We talk to people who rely on their cars for everything – they worry about their annual MOT and service for their car. We want to promote their savings and budgeting ahead for things.”
Mr Goddard is employed by the Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau and seconded to the credit union. The position is lottery funded until March 2015.
The credit union says the appointment will allow it to broaden its services and offer more advice to people.
This will include the chance to create “jam jar accounts” – where money is split into separate pots to meet commitments – for example to pay rent.
Mr Goddard said while the credit union did provide loans, these would only be available to those who made regular savings.
He said it was important to encourage people to think about saving too.
Future changes to the benefit system – which benefits would be available and how and how often benefits were paid, would have an impact on how people manage their money, he said.
Mr Goddard will also be trained in money advice, which will mean the credit union can offer advice on things such as planning for retirement, mortgages and switching utility providers.
This will start in 2014 and will operate alongside the bureau’s debt advice service.