MANAGERS and volunteers at Redditch's first Credit Union Shop are toasting 12 months of successful business as they celebrate their first anniversary.

The shop was opened by Jacqui Smith MP in November 1999 and has gone from strength to strength.

Since opening this professional shop/counter service on Unicorn Hill, Redditch Credit Union has increased its membership to more than 850 people and is growing daily.

Systems are constantly being updated and a new computer system is currently being installed to enhance efficiency. Sponsorship to cover part of this cost has been raised through Redditch Council.

The shop is run by volunteers from the community with the assistance of a manager.

Joint community ventures are being undertaken with the Citizen's Advice Bureau, The Benefits Agency, The REDI Centre, Redditch Co-operative Homes and the Equalities Sub-Committee which included the Debt Awareness Campaign.

Manager Pat Cull said: "The board of directors and myself are extremely excited at the future prospects of the Credit Union which has doubled its membership since providing these facilities."

A Redditch Council spokesman said: "We are delighted that Credit Union has been so successful.

"They play a prominent, excellent role, helping a wide range of people in the town manage their finances."