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Peter Pan Lyric Theatre

Christopher looks to the future at Newington CU

NEW GENERATION: Christopher McBride NEW GENERATION: Christopher McBride
By Michael Jackson

HAVING studied drama at Queen’s University, a younger Christopher McBride could hardly have imagined he would one day become a Director at Newington Credit Union.
However, the 29-year-old accountant’s thespian ambitions exited the stage when he realised he “couldn’t do accents”. He good-humouredly reflects on his lack of accomplishment in that department as a skill he “kind of needed” to carve out a career in drama. Luckily, he has found both fulfilment and success not only in his day job in the finance industry, but also through his work at the local credit union.
Christopher has been a lifelong member of Newington Credit Union, which was founded in 1967 by his grandfather, Sean Caughey. Since coming on board as a Director in December 2018, Christopher has striven to make a difference in the local community like his grandfather before him.
“My granddad founded the credit union so that the local community would have somewhere they could save money, where everyone could pool together their resources so that if people needed a loan then there would be that central community hub that they could use and that’s something we’re doing to this very day,” he said.
“I feel the credit union is really important. When I was in England I spoke to people about the credit union model and they were amazed because they don’t have the same focus on credit unions. In the last few years we’ve seen the controversy there surrounding payday loan companies with massive interest rates, but that might not have happened if there were credit unions. People who would otherwise have gone to a payday lender can come to the credit union and get a rate where they won’t be exploited, which is very important. I wanted to be able to help the credit union by using my expertise in accountancy to help its development.
“I’ve been involved with the monthly meetings where we look at how the credit union is progressing. It’s really to make sure that we are continuing to serve our purpose. I have started to get involved in the investment committee to look at what we are doing with our money. I’m also involved in trying to get more people to join the credit union. For me, it’s very important to get more people – especially young people – involved in the credit union.”
During his short time as a Newington Credit Union Director, Christopher has overseen an upsurge in members following a highly successful recruitment drive in March – something he says he is “very proud of”. He is also spearheading the credit union’s efforts to bring in a diverse range of volunteers to help develop the organisation.
“I want to get more Directors on board,” he said. “I’m one of the younger directors on the board, so I want to get more people my age involved. It’s good to have people from a range of backgrounds and it’s a good way to get involved with the local community. I really wanted to improve the North Belfast area, it’s something that I’m quite passionate about, so getting on board has really helped me do that. A lot of people think that if they don’t have a financial or business background that they can’t get involved, but that’s not the case.
“I came from a drama background and became a director, so the only real qualification is that you want to help develop the Credit Union and the local community.”

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