“Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle, but those who gather little by little will increase it.” Proverbs 13:11

It was 1989 and Great Britain was still pulling itself out of the global stockmarket rout of 1987 and consequent financial adversity. For the Highfields Parish, the answer came with the appointment of a new parish priest, Father John Lally, who originally hailed from County Mayo, Ireland where the credit union movement was and still an integral part of the community. Father John gathered the 24 signatures necessary to form a credit union. He was further assisted by Steve Finnigan, a founding member of the police credit union, Copperpot Credit Union. Finnigan was a larger than life character, well known and respected nationally in the credit union movement. Father John reflected 20 years on, that many of those signing up didn’t know what they were signing up for, but they did so regardless. The credit union was founded in 1992 as part of the anti poverty strategy hoping to address some of the problems faced by the financially excluded across the city. The Registry for Friendly Societies (the responsible body) advised Father John that the potential common bond was a mile and a half square of the area around the church. This senseless plan was abandoned in favour of all the local churches coming together – Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Moravian, to become the Highfields Churches Together. Clockwise became a credit union in January 1992. The election of a Labour government saw financial exclusion become a political football. Father John met the local MP, Patricia Hewitt, to discuss the expansion of the credit union and in 2002, the common bond was expanded to the City of Leicester and then to the county. The three-person office had expanded into a shop front in Pocklingtons Walk and in 2010 moved to larger premises at 1 St. Nicholas Place, Leicester. Clockwise also has a branch office in Melton Mowbray.

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