Good Practice Project
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly FLAG has developed a Credit Union scheme designed to assist those who cannot access grant funding for their projects without initial support.
The fishing loan project, or Credit Union scheme, stems from the barriers caused by all EMFF/FLAG project beneficiaries needing access to finance to kick-start their projects, as all grant claims are paid in arrears. Many small-scale fishing and rural businesses do not have the capital to cash flow projects until their claims are paid, which can take up to 12 weeks. This prevents many projects from proceeding and can exclude several small businesses.
The Fisheries Animateur team (Cornwall Rural Community Charity) presented this issue to Seafarers UK who became involved and offered a fund of £20 000. The fund is used to provide small fishing loans to beneficiaries, allowing them to kick-start projects which otherwise would not have been possible. The fishing loan service needed to be set up with an official banking organisation, so contact was made with the Kernow Credit Union who then agreed to host and deliver the service. The Union is owned by its beneficiaries and not by external shareholders or investors, placing an emphasis on providing the best service possible to its members, not on maximising profits.
The first fishing loan was approved in the spring of 2018 and the service now operates out of a Fishermen’s mission office space on the quayside in Newlyn, Cornwall every Friday.
The fishing loan service has now supported 11 projects of small-scale fisheries businesses with a fishing loan to kick start projects. This has unlocked a further £100 000 (approx. €113 000) of EMFF funding, allowing the development of several health and safety and catch quality projects which would not have happened without the loan and Credit Union scheme.
Small-scale fishermen and their businesses often struggle with finding initial funds to launch their projects. Credit Unions could be used in many other small-scale fishing communities and be scaled-up to support them, not only across other parts of the UK but also across the EU. The Dorset and East Devon FLAG now have their own fishing loan initiative with their local Credit Union.
|Total project cost||€23 000|
|Timeframe of implementation||From Jan 2018 to Jun 2018|
|Type of area|