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Glasgow City Council

Lord Lieutenant presents British Empire Medal to Credit Union campaigner

Published 6 November 2023

Christine Garrity BEM LP Nov 2023

A woman who helped found Glasgow's largest Credit Union to tackle the blight of rogue money lenders and loan sharks within her community was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant.

Christine Garrity (72) from Pollok was one of the original volunteers to run the community facility. She was awarded her BEM by Glasgow's Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren, in her capacity as Lord Lieutenant, on Friday 3 November. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of PCU being registered 30 years ago.

Christine said: "There was a need in the local community. Pollok was quite a poor area. It's not as bad now. But many poor people back then were at the mercy of loan sharks and I wanted to help them get access to low cost loans and banking facilities."

Christine's notion to set up the hugely successful community service came during a spell of convalescence following a serious car accident.

She explained: "I was off work for 10 months. I heard people were thinking about it and I said to my husband Jim - who's a great organiser. So, we set up a study group to learn how to run the credit union. I could not have done any of it without him. He should get a Knighthood for his work."

Christine, who's well known in the area, ran the community bank with other volunteers as well as holding down jobs as a supervisor at Pollok Community Centre and latterly working at Leithland Neighbourhood  Centre.

While there, she refurbished and reinstated the community hub and a series of community groups and initiatives for the young and elderly including dancing, martial arts and healthy eating and cookery classes.

She only recently gave up her role as Pollok Credit Union Board Director, after rising through the ranks, to make way for her daughter Jacqueline.

Christine said: "It's remarkable when I think about it. The people we met and worked with and helped. They deserved a better banking experience."

PCU can now proudly boast a membership of more than 7000 receiving ethical and community centred banking services that have seen more than £60 million loans approved. Improving the banking experience of countless people.

Christine learned about her honour in the post. She explained: "I thought it was a summons from the court for Jury duty. I looked at it and looked at it again. I really, really had no idea about any of it."

The Lord Provost said: "It's my immense pleasure to present this award, on behalf of HM The King to a remarkable woman who has dedicated her life to making this city a better place. Christine is clearly one of our wonderful citizens - the 'People who make Glasgow' great.

"Her community recognises her value and it's my honour to join her and her proud family and friends, and take the opportunity to thank Christine, on behalf of the city and the Palace, for her special contribution to our city."

Published 6 November 2023

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