At the root of many of the challenges facing local communities is financial deprivation and economic inactivity. Hastings & Rother Credit Union (H&RCU) provides a community-based savings and loan service to local, often low-income, clients whom mainstream banks have turned their backs on. Hastings and Rother remains a low-wage, benefit-dependent area. Child poverty stands at over 25% and poor transport links compound people’s financial and social exclusion. Using a grant from Sussex Community Foundation, H&RCU has recently set up an outreach office at the Tilling Green Community Centre in Rye. The credit union model helps people to take back ownership of their money and build community sustainability. “One of our savers was long-term unemployed but had been managing to save a very small weekly amount. He has about £140 in his account when he finally got a job,” says Richard. “He needed £50 to buy a bike to get him to his new job. We were able to give him a loan for the bike which he then paid back from his first wages, leaving his hard-won savings intact,” says H&RCU manager Richard Parkinson.