Several years ago, the credit union created the Graham Southall Award, an award that annually recognises co-operative achievement, and efforts, by volunteers or supporters of the CCU. Graham himself was the first recipient of the award and then became the presenter of the award each year.
None of us were expecting the sudden death of Graham, back in October 2019, and the loss of this tremendous character was hard to believe and take in. So much has happened as a result of this man. To even begin to estimate the loss his family, friends and his work mates is impossible. Graham was the founding secretary of this Co-op Credit Union, back in 1998, and became the credit union’s first Lifetime President. History will show that the credit union may have never launched, or certainly never have launched so successfully, had it not been for the efforts of Graham Southall.
The Co-op Credit Union’s Second Lifetime President – awarded in 2017
Andy was awarded in recognition of the remarkable support and work given since he joined the board of the credit union as treasurer in 1999. This was only the second award of this kind that the credit union has ever made in its 20 years history. The credit union would not have had its success had it not been for Andy’s tireless volunteering. Andy brought a much-required steadiness to the tough times the credit went thought in growing from hundreds of members to thousands. Andy was crucial for the business at a time when growth was required to protect the credit union from the strains of successful recruitment of members. Financial advice is welcome, but Andy brought financial wisdom as well, a true co-operator.
The Co-op Credit Union’s Third Lifetime President – awarded in 2020
For over 20 years Nick contributed at all levels to the growth of the credit union. We have been through some difficult times, but Nick was always available lending his full support and wise counsel on a range of issues. A real stalwart who could always be relied upon in time of need. Nick was the constant voice of reason in amongst the many wacky ideas that boards of directors bring forth. But Nick was not an enemy of creativity, quite the opposite. Nick was the best supporter of change and tough decisions and most of all a co-operative team player. The credit union board of directors will be lot worse off because of Nick retiring, but the credit union is so much better because of his 20 years as a volunteer.
The Co-op Credit Union’s Fourth Lifetime President – awarded in 2022
The cornerstone of any credit union is its lending and to successfully lend money at a fair rate without incurring bad debt is the key to a sustainable credit union. Over the years Co-op Credit Union has modified, improved and codified its policies on lending and the one person that has led much of that development and change has been Rebecca Hamilton. Her patient and determined organisation of the staff, and volunteer, teams has been an enormous help to the success of the credit union. Rebecca worked for many years in the Manchester Complex for the Co-op Group, close to the CCU office, and was therefore regularly on hand to approve, administer and organise lending alongside the office team. Her sacrifice of lunch breaks and other voluntary time alone is a testimony to her many years of dedication to the credit union. Rebecca was an excellent director of CCU and her contribution at board meetings will be sorely missed. Rebecca’s term of office is now officially ended, but her passion for credit unions will never fade, nor will the CCU’s gratitude and love for her. Thank you Rebecca.
Chris Smith and David Dickman
Lifetime Presidents and joint recipients of The Graham Southall Award in 2023
“These two remarkable people have been literally vital to our credit union’s growth and development and in Chris’s case to its actual initiation. Chris’s vision set the credit union off in the mid ‘90s, rallying round colleagues and using his influencing skills to gain support for the launching of an employee credit union. We wouldn’t have the credit union without Chris and his colleague’s determination. Chris was subsequently the credit union’s Chair on and off for many years. And then David joined our board, bringing his experience as a banker, professionalising the way we worked and lending wisdom and ideas to the directors and staff. It was an absolute privilege to work with them both and I’m sure they’re an inspiration to lots of other volunteers like myself. And their impact isn’t confined to The Co-op Credit Union. They both make such a contribution in the wider movement. We should all as members be deeply grateful to these two people who without whom this credit union would not be here, or be the successful and expanding organisation that is today” – Nick Money, Former Co-op Credit Director – read the full story here on our blog