Friday, 21 February 2014

Galway set to host major Credit Union Youth Conference

This weekend the Irish league of Credit unions will hold its annual Youth Conference in Galway. This is the 8th annual Youth Conference and the two day event, which will see over 200 credit union representatives travel to Galway, is one of the most popular and important in the credit union calendar. The conference is an opportunity to share information and for credit unions to learn from one another. Young people are very important to the credit union movement and this particular age group have been hit hard by the downturn in the economy with high levels of youth unemployment and indeed emigration. Credit unions are very cognisant of their role in supporting young people in Ireland and this event allows us to share ideas on how to further engage with this segment of the population.
A key item for discussion on the agenda is the importance of credit unions growing and expanding their range of services, particularly electronic services, for young credit union members. The conference will also look at the role of the credit union in assisting families and students to meet the escalating costs of third level education. A number of other topics such as engaging, empowering and supporting young people and the role of the credit union in providing broad financial education to secondary and third level students in Ireland will also feature throughout the event. The conference participants will hear presentations from the National Youth Council of Ireland, the ILCU Youth Committee and social media experts, among others.
Credit unions are deeply involved at local community level in Ireland and we want to continue to play a role in helping families provide children and young adults, not only with a financial education, but also a good savings habit from a young age. In fact throughout every life stage - communion / confirmation, back to school, college, weddings, buying a car, making home improvements and planning a funeral - the credit union is there to help.  We are delighted to be back in Galway and as always we look forward to interesting presentations and lively debate throughout the conference weekend

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

29th Year of the All Ireland Credit Union Art Competition

Last weekend, the 29th All Ireland Credit Union Art Competition took place at Croke Park in Dublin. Over thirty national prize winners from communities around the country gathered, with their friends and families and Marty Whelan, at a special prize giving event. Many braved the bad weather conditions to travel all morning to be at the event and we were delighted that they were able to join us. The art competition continues to be one of the most successful events run by the credit union movement and we are delighted that so many people take part year on year. This year, we had a huge 30,000 entries to the competition across all age groups.
The competition itself caters for all ages, with categories ranging from under 7, to 18 years and over. There are two categories, General and Special, with five age groups in each. The Special category invites artists with a physical or intellectual disability to submit entries in free expression, without the restrictions of the competitions official theme if they so wish.
I was personally delighted to see the flair and creativity of those who entered this year’s competition  and I am in awe of the outstanding level of imagination reflected in this year’s entries. The theme ‘Gotta Lotta Colour’ is clearly visible in each and every entry. It is so interesting to see how uniquely each of the artists interpreted the theme.
I have to say a very big thank you to the volunteers in over 300 credit unions around the country through which the competition was run. Without their help, we would not be able to put together such a large scale competition. I want to also say well done to everyone else involved, including our judges John Walsh, Creative Director FOCUS Advertising Agency, Ursula Retzlaff O’Connell, Artist, John Farrelly, Cartoonist.