We reflect on our achievements in the last three months and look beyond the success of our Bond Offer.
Our Bond Offer is finally coming to a close. In the last three months, we have raised over £1.2m and welcomed almost 200 investors into our growing organisation. With the amazing support from Fair4All Finance, not only through £-for-£ match-funding this raise but their trust in our mission, we have gone far beyond our target raise, surpassing our total goal by 60%.
With just 4 days left, we reflect on our accomplishments since we launched our offer and look beyond the success of our investment raise, our various accolades and achievements within the ethical finance space.
Bond Offer launch
We launched our Bond Offer on 19 April, 2023. Within 24 hours of launch, we had welcomed 22 new investors into our organisation and collectively raised over £183,000! With a promising start, we were off towards our initial £800,000 goal.
As the offer went on, we released exciting projects, including our Bond Offer film which provided a snapshot to investors from all over the country of the amazing work we have done in the last 20 years and how we plan to grow and thrive in the coming years.
Consumer Credit Awards
In May, we were nominated at the Credit Consumer Awards for the fourth consecutive year, in the 'Best Credit Union' (South) and ‘Best Credit Union Loan Provider’ categories. The awards are held by Smart Money People, a hub dedicated to financial services reviews and insights, to aid customers in making educated financial purchases. The finalists have yet to be announced but we are thrilled to be recognised by an organisation that is focused on providing resources for financial wellbeing and ethical credit.
The following month, we had been recognised once again, this time in the Fintech sector. In partnership with our digital agency, Digital Wonderlab, we were shortlisted in this year’s Fintech Awards (South West), Fintech for Good category. Digital Wonderlab played a crucial role in helping us transform our digital proposition, helping us create wider accessibility to our financial services and offer an optimised experience to our customers.
“This nomination was recognition of the significant social impact we have provided to thousands of people through our digital services, making access easier, faster, and more reliable.” - James Berry, CEO of Great Western Credit Union
In 2022, we partnered with the University of Bristol (UoB) to conduct research that aimed to understand the financial habits of families, specifically mothers. During this research, we uncovered the vital role mothers play in household finances and their constant efforts to build savings for their children’s needs. The insight from this research has motivated us to build resources that are targeted at, and valuable for, families.
And so, in June, we launched a trial savings product for families in receipt of Child Benefit, to help them build saving pots, no matter how big or little. We are committed to acting on our research and hope to continue developing propositions that are aimed to build our members’ financial resilience.
Social Impact Report
By the end of June, we released ‘Better off together’, the 3rd edition of our annual Social Impact Report. Through research and survey results, the report found the areas in which members were struggling the most.
The report aims to show the ways in which we are driving positive change for our community while also providing a comprehensive overview of the social value GWCU delivers to members, and the wider community across the region.
Just over half (52%) of surveyed borrowers said they were “greatly” or “extremely” impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, with 51% cutting spending on food shopping and other essentials and 42% reducing gas and electricity usage to cut costs. Result such as this, allow us to put resources in place that will most benefit our members. With a commitment to support members, over one in three borrowers benefitted from payment holidays or temporarily reduced payments.
SE100 awards and SE100 list
This month, we were highly commended at the SE100 awards in the Social Investment Award category. The category highlighted our exciting entrance into the impact investment space and we are so proud of the recognition that our first-ever Bond Offer has received.
In addition to the nomination, NatWest and Pioneer’s Post have named us as one of the UK’s top 100 social enterprises in 2023! Our social impact is seen through our efforts in supporting over 18,000 members, which includes supporting 2,250 people at risk of homelessness and aiding 150 families through the UK Resettlement Scheme for refugees.