A CREDIT union volunteer is calling for more people to join fearing poor money management is leaving residents vulnerable to loan sharks and mounting debt.

Dagmar Grafton volunteers at the Manningtree branch of the Colchester Credit Union, which covers the whole of Tendring, based at The Hub in The Lane.

But she used to help at the Citizens Advice Bureau giving debt advice.

She said: "A lot of people who came to us with money problems at the CAB, if they had a credit union account they wouldn't have had to go to a loan shark.

"There are pockets of real deprivation - we have a foodbank in Manningtree that has a lot of use.

"We can talk to people about budgeting - we have a leaflet about budgeting.

"If someone wants £50 they might go to a loan shark and they do nothing under £100, then when they can't pay it back they offer them £200.

"One person I came across had racked up £3,000 over six months."

Dagmar says the credit union can offer loans of small amounts other big banks can't, and has flexible terms for paying them back - but they are only available for members.

She added: "Tendring Council sponsors the credit union and pays the £3 to be a member for people in Tendring.

"It is a co-operative bank run by volunteers but has the same safeguarding as banks.

"We are a savings bank and people have to save for a minimum of three months before being allowed to take a loan."

The Manningtree branch runs from the hub on Friday mornings between 10am and 12noon.