COLLEGE staff and students are being encouraged to join a credit union.

The North East First Credit Union is welcoming new members from Finchale Training College, which offers vocational training from its base near Durham City.

Credit unions are member-owned co-operatives offering not-for-profit financial services including flexible savings schemes, financial advice and low-cost lending to help people avoid loan sharks and pay day lenders.

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Emma Forster, the college’s commercial and fundraising officer, said: “I think it’s a great way to save and a responsible way to access loans if needed.

“For many of our students who are moving on to commence employment, I think the union could provide a great way for them to begin saving their money and looking to the future too.”