THE "oldest community credit union in Fife" has officially re-opened after Scottish minister Aileen Campbell cut the ribbon last Wednesday.

Benarty & Lochgelly Credit Union was established in October 1989 and serves the communities of Ballingry, Lochore, Crosshill, Glengraig (Benarty) and Lochgelly.

Ms Campbell, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, performed the ceremonial duties after their Benarty Square premises were refurbished.

Cowdenbeath MSP, Annabelle Ewing, accompanied the minister and said: “During a debate celebrating the role of credit unions in Scotland’s communities which was held in the Scottish Parliament back in January, I highlighted to the cabinet secretary that the Benarty & Lochgelly Credit Union is the oldest community credit union in Fife and that it was celebrating its 30th year this year.

“I suggested then that she might wish to help them mark this significant anniversary by arranging an official ministerial visit so I was delighted to be able to welcome Aileen to my constituency as she officially opened their refurbished premises.

“It was really good to see the cabinet secretary taking time to meet with such committed community activists in Ballingry.

“Many thanks to the treasurer, Donna McEwan, and to the other board members and the staff of the credit union for all the work that they do to make Benarty & Lochgelly Credit Union the success it has become.

"And here’s to the next 30 years!”

Credit unions put people ahead of profits and aim to help, through a range of savings accounts and loans, those who are struggling financially to steer clear of loan sharks and payday lenders that charge sky-high interest.

A not-for-profit financial co-operative, it is owned and controlled by its members.

More than 400,000 people in Scotland are members of a credit union.