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Stress Awareness Month 2024.

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Stress Awareness Month 2024.

In today’s fast-paced world, financial concerns weigh heavily on many people’s minds. From mounting bills to unexpected expenses, the pressure to make ends meet can often feel overwhelming.

At Leeds Credit Union, we understand the profound impact that financial worries can have on our mental wellbeing, which is why, to commemorate Stress Awareness Month – which takes place throughout April – we’re going to explore the role money worries play in increasing our stress levels and what can be done about it.

The Reality of Financial Stress.

Financial stress is a common problem that can affect anyone, regardless of income level or background. Whether it’s facing debt repayment pressures or worrying about job security, these concerns can take a significant toll on our mental health.

Studies have shown that financial stress can manifest in various ways, including anxiety, depression, irritability and even physical symptoms such as headaches and insomnia. Furthermore, the constant worry about finances can strain relationships with loved ones and impact our overall quality of life.

Identifying The Signs.

Recognizing the signs of financial stress is crucial in addressing the issue and seeking support when needed. Some common indicators include:

Breaking the Cycle.

By empowering individuals and families to take control of their finances, reputable financial institutions can help them alleviate stress. Here are some steps you can take if you think you need help to break a cycle of financial worry:

  1. Create a Budget: Establishing a budget can provide clarity on your financial situation and help prioritise expenses.
  2. Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted friends, family members or financial advisors for guidance and support.
  3. Explore Financial Solutions: Investigate alternative financial solutions, such as credit unions, which offer affordable loans and access to a variety of savings accounts.
  4. Practice Self-Care: Take time for self-care activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress, such as exercise, meditation or spending time with loved ones.
  5. Set Realistic Goals: Break down financial goals into manageable steps and celebrate small victories along the way.

How Leeds Credit Union Can Help.

As a community-focused financial institution, Leeds Credit Union is committed to supporting our members and helping them become more financially stable.

If you’re struggling with financial stress, you can contact our Money and Budgeting Service (MABS) team here.

Leeds’ Best Easter Activities 2024.

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Leeds’ Best Easter Activities 2024.

The Easter holidays are upon us, so what have you got planned?

If the answer is “Not a lot”, you’re missing a trick – there’s something for everyone in and around Leeds over the coming days. Such as…

Leodis Space Agency.

The Leodis Space Agency is on a mission to deliver a range of activities the whole family can enjoy, with exhibits to discover, alien encounters and interactive workshops taking place from now until April 14th at various locations across Leeds City Centre.

Click here for more information!

Leeds city centre.

Easter at Harewood House.

This Easter, until April 14th, Harewood House has something special planned for little ones, with a stunning Rainbow Rabbit Easter Trail around the Lakeside Path and a series of challenges to win a special prize in the Rainbow Rabbit Arena!

For rainy days, visitors will be able to take cover and head inside the House for the Easter Treasure Hunt, where little ones will have to track down the Easter characters hiding in and amongst the furniture.

Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds. LS17 9LG.

Fabulous Food and Fancy Feasts at Temple Newsam.

Enjoy a delicious day out at Temple Newsam this Easter and experience rooms set for feasts and learn about fabulous food from the past while you take part in family fun crafts, activities and trails throughout the house.

Running from now until April 14th, you can also explore the historic mansion with hidden treasures, encounter rare breed animals at Home Farm and stroll through the impressive grounds and gardens!

Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds. LS15 0AE.

Easter at Tropical World.

Head to Tropical World this Easter and take part in an Easter trail with a difference!

Collect a trail sheet then make your way through Topical World hunting out the hidden eggs – you’ll learn plenty of fascinating facts about the animals on your way!

Taking place from now until April 14th, Easter at Tropical World also features daily animal feeding and keeper talks too, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy

Tropical World, Princes Avenue, Roundhay, Leeds. LS8 2ER.

Stay in control of your finances this Easter.

However you decide to spend the Easter holidays, we can help make it more affordable with one of our affordable loans. For more information and to see how much you could borrow, click here.

Barking and Dagenham’s Best Easter Activities For Kids.

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Barking and Dagenham’s Best Easter Activities For Kids.

With most schools closing for around a fortnight for the Easter holidays, plenty of parents across Barking and Dagenham will be on the lookout for inexpensive activities to keep their kids entertained.

If you’re one of them, you’re in luck – the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Programme has a wide variety of fun activities planned for children in the age ranges 5 – 12 and 12 – 16, with everything from boxing and football camps, to dance and healthy eating workshops included.

Better still, the activities are absolutely free for children who live or go to school in Barking and Dagenham and are eligible for benefit-related free school meals!

There are plenty of activities to choose between including: 

Ballerz Holiday Club.

Taking place from April 2nd – 12th, Ballerz offers a multi-sports provision, along with Easter-themed activities including a classic egg hunt, Nerf Wars, an inflatables day and even workshops for parents!

Available for children aged five to 11, a full program of activities can be found here.

Valence Primary School, Bonham Rd, Dagenham. RM8 3BB.

The Disablement Association of Barking & Dagenham (DABD).

DABD is running four days of free activities for special educational needs and disabled (SEND) children and young people who attend school or further education, or live within the borough, and who are eligible/receiving free school meals.

The range of activities includes painting, sensory play, arts and crafts, and sensory adapted exercise activities like football and yoga.

Taking place from April 2nd – 5th, 10am – 2pm, the events are available to children aged five to 18. Anyone interested in signing up should email: send@dabd.org.uk

DABD, Pembroke Gardens, Dagenham. RM10 7YP.

Dance Network Association.

If your children like to get their groove on, you’re in luck – the Dance Network Association (DNA) is putting on an inclusive dance programme over the Easter break, enabling kids to take part in specialist dance workshops and wellbeing sessions, with food and drinks also included!

Available for kids aged eight to 11, the programme will run from April 2nd – 5th, from 9:30am – 3:45pm. Click here for more details and to make a booking.

Dagenham Park Church of England School, School Rd, Dagenham. RM10 9QH.

For a full list of Easter holiday activities taking place in Barking and Dagenham over the coming weeks, click here.

Keep control of your money this Easter.

However you decide to spend the Easter holidays, we can help make it more affordable with one of our affordable loans. For more information and to see how much you could borrow, click here.

 

Things To Do In Wakefield This Easter.

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Things To Do In Wakefield This Easter.

With most of us having a few days off over the coming weeks, we’ve taken a look at some of the best activities Wakefield has to offer this Easter. And with so many fantastic destinations in the area to choose from, there are plenty of options!

Here are a few of our suggestions:

Easter Holidays at The Hepworth Wakefield.

Enjoy a day out at The Hepworth Wakefield this spring and get creative as a family while you explore the famous art gallery and its garden.

From special painting and sculpting workshops, to regular indoor and outdoor activities, there’s something fun happening every day from now until Sunday, April 7th, meaning the entire Wakefield school holidays are covered!

Activities in the learning studios and galleries are free with an exhibition ticket. To find out more, visit: https://hepworthwakefield.org/whats-on/easter-holidays-at-the-hepworth-wakefield/

The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield. WF1 5AW.

Easter Egg Hunt at Nostell.

Built on the site of a medieval priory, the National Trust’s Nostell landmark is a Palladian house set in acres of stunning gardens – making it the perfect place for an Easter egg hunt!

As you make your way along the hunt’s trail, you’ll discover a series of nature-inspired activities for the whole family. It’s all about playing in the garden this Easter, so expect the likes of welly-wanging, egg and spoon racing and hopscotch to figure prominently!

Easter activities at Nostell are available from now until Sunday, April 7th, with no booking required. Prices are £3 per trail, with trails running every day from 11am – 5pm (last entry at 4pm). 

Nostell Priory, Doncaster Road, Nostell, Wragby, Wakefield. WF4 1QE.

Easter Egg-stravaganza at Wakefield Market.

Head over to Wakefield Market for a cracking Easter Egg-stravaganza on Saturday, March 30th, from 10am to take part in some fun, free Easter-themed activities! 

Kids will love getting hands-on with some of the crafting activities, before setting off to explore a variety of market stalls as you hunt for eggs in a traditional egg hunt. A wide range of other Easter-themed activities are also on the menu!

Wakefield Market, Kirkgate, Wakefield. WF1 3AP.

Stay in control of your finances this Easter.

However you decide to spend Easter, we can help make it more affordable with one of our affordable loans. For more information and to see how much you could borrow, click here.

Debt Awareness Week 2024.

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Debt Awareness Week 2024.

 

This week is Debt Awareness Week, a poignant reminder about the impact that debt can have on individuals and families.

Taking place from March 18th – 24th, it’s an initiative that aims to shed light on the issue of debt and to offer support to those grappling with its consequences, reassuring them that help is available for those who need it.

Why debt awareness matters.

Debt is a complex and often stigmatised subject, yet it is a reality for millions of people worldwide. From mounting credit card bills to overwhelming loan repayments, the cycle of debt can feel insurmountable without the proper knowledge and support. Debt Awareness Week serves as an opportunity to break the silence surrounding debt and to empower individuals with the information and resources they need to regain control of their financial wellbeing. It’s also an invaluable opportunity to reassure anybody struggling with debt that help is available.

Together, by fostering debt awareness, we can:

Educate by equipping individuals with the tools and understanding necessary to make informed financial decisions and navigate the complexities of debt management.

Destigmatize. Shame and stigma often accompany debt, preventing individuals from seeking help and exacerbating their financial struggles. By fostering open and honest conversations about debt, we can eliminate the stigma surrounding financial difficulties and create a supportive environment where individuals feel empowered to seek assistance without fear of judgement.

Empower. At Leeds Credit Union, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to achieve financial stability. Whether through debt consolidation loans or our Money and Budgeting Service (MABS), we are committed to empowering individuals to take control of their finances and work towards a brighter, debt-free future.

Join us in spreading awareness.

This Debt Awareness Week, we invite you to join us in spreading awareness and support for those affected by debt. Whether by sharing resources or simply offering an ear to those in need, together we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and families facing financial challenges.

If you or someone you know is struggling with debt, you can contact us for support and advice here.

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day In Leeds!

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Celebrate St Patrick’s Day In Leeds!

Given Leeds’ well-deserved reputation as a city in which there’s almost always something to do, you won’t be surprised to hear that anyone looking to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day this weekend is in for a treat!

March 17th is the day on which Irish culture and heritage are celebrated in all their glory in commemoration of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s foremost patron saint.

Today, despite only being officially recognised as a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world. In fact, it’s celebrated in more countries than any other national festival, with revellers typically enjoying public parades, traditional Irish music sessions, the wearing of green clothing and, of course, a glass or two of Irish beer or whiskey. 

There will be lots to do in Leeds City Centre this Sunday to mark the occasion, with a major St Patrick’s Day celebration planned. 

Organised by the Leeds St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, the day will feature lots of free entertainment, including:

For more information, visit: https://www.millsqleeds.com/whatson-event/st-patricks-day-parade/

Sláinte!

We’ve Been Nominated For Two Consumer Credit Awards!

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We’ve Been Nominated For Two Consumer Credit Awards!

We’re delighted to be in the running for not one but TWO Consumer Credit Awards – and not only can you help us win them, you could win £1,000 just for taking part!

We’ve been nominated in both the ‘Best Credit Union (North)’ and ‘Best Credit Union Loan Provider’ categories. If you think we deserve to win, we’d love it if you took a moment to vote by following the link below and answering a few short questions about your experiences with us. All voters are entered into a draw to win a £1,000 cash prize!

https://smartmoneypeople.com/consumer-credit-awards/review/leeds-credit-union-reviews/loans

Run by the financial services experts at Smart Money People, the Consumer Credit Awards recognise the achievements of organisations in the credit industry – including loan providers, credit unions, credit information partners, retail finance and more. It’s up to consumers to vote, making the awards both unique and a true endorsement of customer satisfaction. 

Unlike other awards, the winners of the Consumer Credit Awards are decided solely by customers, making winning one particularly satisfying!

Jacqueline Dewey, CEO at Smart Money People, said: “In the last 12 months we’ve seen consumers face increased costs of living and multiple interest rate rises. These factors have undoubtedly resulted in another busy year for the credit industry. The Consumer Credit Awards recognise those companies that continue to go above and beyond. Thanks to the data we collect with our reviews, the Consumer Credit Awards are an endorsement of customers’ experiences and a symbol of the UK’s very best companies. We can’t wait to see who consumers decide will win in 2024.”

Voting closes on July 11th.

The Recession – Leeds Credit Union’s Perspective.

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The Recession – Leeds Credit Union’s Perspective.

Upon hearing the news that the UK fell into recession towards the end of 2023, many people are understandably anxious, including our valued members and our staff. After all, recession – defined as ‘a fall in gross domestic product (GDP) across two consecutive three-month periods’ – invariably introduces a wave of uncertainty, particularly around financial stability.

Understanding the recession.

According to the news, the recession came about as a result of the UK economy shrinking by a sizable 0.3%. This followed previous reductions between July and September, while the annual growth for 2023 stood at a mere 0.1%. 

While this may seem bleak, people may be reassured by the fact that economic downturns actually create an environment in which it becomes possible to reassess and adapt our financial strategies, so there are some causes for optimism.

Impact on personal finances.

A recession will almost certainly make people worry about their personal finances, with the struggling economy increasing the prospect of tighter personal budgets, job uncertainties and falling incomes.

Unfortunately, the looming shadow of inflation is unlikely to put anyone’s mind at rest either.

As the Bank of England lifted interest rates to tame inflation, the pace of price rises stood at an alarming 4% in January – double the bank’s 2% target. For personal finances, this indicates a potential reduction in purchasing power, affecting everything from daily expenses to significant outlays such as mortgages and loans.

Leeds Credit Union stands with you.

As your credit union, we understand the concerns of our members. 

Our role is to help you navigate and weather this financial storm and we believe that providing guidance and tailored services to safeguard your financial health during these tough times are just a couple of the ways in which we can do so.

Rest assured, we are developing strategies to meet the potential challenges that lie ahead. These include: 

We are dedicated to helping our members adapt to fluctuations in their income and increasing prices. We understand the importance of reviewing and revising budgeting strategies, prioritising financial obligations and considering flexible repayment options.

As we tackle this recession head-on, we remain unwavering in our commitment to remain a reliable financial partner to our members.

Some good news.

While the economic terrain may appear challenging, it’s worth noting that this particular recession has been described by Ruth Gregory, the Deputy Chief UK Economist at Capital Economics, as: “as mild as they come”. 

For any LCU members struggling with their finances, we urge you to maintain open communication with us. Our dedicated team is ready and available to provide support and practical insights based on your individual circumstances and, more than ever, let’s remember that the essence of Leeds Credit Union is the principle of unity: members saving together and lending to each other at an affordable interest rate.

With collective effort, thoughtful strategies and resilience, we can emerge from this stronger and more financially robust than before.

Rediscover Romance with Your Finances this Valentine’s Day.

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Rediscover Romance with Your Finances this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is here again and love is in the air. But instead of just focussing on romantic gestures for your partner, why not take a moment to show some love to your finances this year?

Here are some tips to help you nurture your financial wellbeing:

Saving.

Building a savings cushion is essential for financial security and, while it may seem daunting, even small steps can make a difference. Start by reviewing your expenses and finding areas where you can cut back and, if possible, start saving the difference.

At Leeds Credit Union, we offer a range of savings accounts that can help ensure your money grows safely and steadily – check them out here.

Debt consolidation.

If you’re juggling multiple debts, consolidating them into a single, affordable loan can simplify your finances and lower your monthly payments.

Our Debt Consolidation Loans are tailored to help you regain control of your finances and you can find out more details about them by visiting: https://www.leedscreditunion.co.uk/loans/debt-consolidation-loans/

Budgeting.

Creating a budget is a fundamental step towards better financial awareness, so take the time to assess your income and outgoings, prioritising essential costs while also allocating funds for savings and leisure activities. 

By sticking to your budget, you’ll avoid overspending and be well prepared if any unexpected expenses appear without warning.

Online services.

Embrace the convenience of online banking to manage your finances effortlessly. By being able to access your accounts anytime, anywhere, and perform transactions securely through your bank’s website or app, you’ll find banking in 2024 has become much quicker and simpler than ever before.

Open dialogue.

Don’t shy away from discussing your financial situation with trusted individuals, whether it’s your partner, your family or your friends. Sharing your concerns and seeking advice can alleviate stress and help you make better-informed decisions about your finances.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Leeds Credit Union!

At Leeds Credit Union, we’re committed to empowering our members with accessible financial solutions. Whether you’re looking to save, borrow or manage your finances more effectively, we’re here to support you on your journey towards financial wellbeing. Join us today and start learning to love your finances again!

Payroll Savings – the benefits to employers and employees.

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Payroll Savings – the benefits to employers and employees.

In the ever-evolving landscape of today’s workplaces, employee well-being is a crucial metric for many organisations. A recent study by Zellis* has unveiled eye-opening statistics about the financial stress affecting UK employees, including:

As well as affecting employees personally, this stress also impacts their employers, with 35% of staff saying that the worry makes them less able to focus at work; 22% saying it takes them longer to complete tasks; and 17% admitting that they make more mistakes or errors. And a report by CEBR on behalf of Aegon UK**, suggests this worry is costing employers £10.3bn each year.

According to the Zellis research, a significant percentage of staff grapple with the challenge of managing day-to-day expenses, with a notable portion expressing concerns about handling unforeseen emergencies. In this context, the financial well-being of employees has become a pressing issue, impacting job performance, job satisfaction, and overall workplace morale.

Payroll saving could be part of the solution

As businesses seek effective ways to address these challenges, payroll saving programmes stand out as part of the solution. Offered by many credit unions, payroll savings schemes are free – for both employee and employer – and help staff begin to build some financial resilience.

Credit unions – such as Leeds Credit Union – are member-owned financial cooperatives. Everyone who saves (or borrows) with a credit union becomes a member and has their say on how the credit union is run via their annual general meeting. Fully regulated by both the PRA and FCA, most are also members of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so any savings are protected should the worst happen.

How do they work

The fine details may vary slightly between different credit unions but, in general, an employee joins the credit union, then tells it how much they would like to save each month. This amount is then automatically deducted from the employee’s salary and paid into their credit union account.

This not only cultivates disciplined saving habits but also addresses some of the financial challenges identified in both the Zellis and CEBR reports, helping to build long term financial resilience and reduce worries about money.

Leeds Credit Union works with many employers – both large nationals and smaller local businesses – in delivering payroll saving and lending.

If you would like to find out more about helping your employees through payroll savings, please email: partnerships@leedscreditunion.co.uk

or contact our Business Development Manager Mike Moore via LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-moore-9655571b/

 

*”Under pressure – How financial stress impacts employee wellbeing and productivity 2023”. zellis.com

** “Financial wellbeing & productivity in the workplace” A CEBR Report for Aegon UK September 2023