Ann Marie Clifford, Darragh Maher (8), Cian Walsh (9) and Joanna Walsh during the Butts Savings Bank at the Fr McGrath Centre PICTURE: PAT MOORE
A community savings scheme launched by the Fr. McGrath Centre in 2006 has once again broken its own community savings record with nearly 90% of savings expected to be spent locally.
The Butts Community Savings Bank was started by the Fr McGrath Family Resource Centre on St Joseph’s Road has now spread to other counties and is helping thousands of families to cope with the financial stress of Christmas.
Nearly 400 members, many of them children, withdrew a substantial six figure sum at Friday night's pay out in the Fr. McGrath Centre.
The Community Savings Bank was established by the Family Centre with help from former members of St. Canice’s Credit Union, Michael Walsh, Teasie Brennan, Marius Cassidy and Michael Saunders. They have now spread to several family and community centre locations in Kilkenny and Carlow.
The Butts Savings Bank run by voluntary tellers is open every Friday night for 48 weeks of the year at the centre.
Its two key aims are to encourage children in a savings habit from their earliest years and to give families an alternative to money lending agencies which charge exorbitant interest rates.
Families can withdraw funds at key times during the year and many do for communions, back to school and family events..
Chairperson of the voluntary Board of the Fr. McGrath Centre, Pat Brennan singled out volunteer tellers David Barry, Irene King, Joseph Massey, Anne Marie Clifford, Pat McAuley, Teasie Brennan, Joe O’Grady and Michelle Byrne whose commitment to the community bank meant no matter what, the service ran for 11 months of the year.
Mr. Brennan said that the volunteers running this project every week through the year deserved rich praise for the very valuable service they were providing to their neighbours.
He said: ‘It is a great example of communities at their very best when they cooperate and work together to support others in their open place.’
The Butts Community Bank will reopen on the first Friday in January and it i always looking for members.