Headlines: January 16th, 2008

People living in rural areas have fewer banks and cashpoints per head of the population compared to those living in urban areas and 1 in 5 of rural households live in poverty. The Commission for Rural Communities has launched a ‘Quids In’ campaign to create greater awareness of the financial services needs of rural people and to stimulate the development of imaginative community-based solutions in rural areas.

Examples of community initiatives include the Tackley village shop and post office which was initiated by a group of residents. The community owned shop offers a full range of financial services as well as a coffee shop and playground facilities. In Cornwall, NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland provide a mobile banking service to 350 rural communities. In Cumbria, the Debt Rescue and Financial Advice provides advice for people with emergency financial situations which includes quick loan decisions to address urgent debt. In Scotland, the Financial Education Project in Dumfries provides advice and support aimed at avoiding financial distress. The project is supported by the Scottish Executive.

The Commission believes that no one should be disadvantaged by where they live. The ‘Quids In’ campaign will publicise examples of community initiatives with the aim of inspiring people in rural areas to seek out locally-based solutions to meet financial needs.