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Chatteris in Business launch 'Change Exchange' to help combat impact of bank closure

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Businesses in a Fenland town have launched a new initiative to help combat the lack of banking facilities.

Barclays bank in Chatteris is closing in May and traders fear it will impact on their businesses. (7299791)
Barclays bank in Chatteris is closing in May and traders fear it will impact on their businesses. (7299791)

Chatteris is set to see its last remaining bank close in May and as reported in the Citizen last week business owners are concerned about the impact the Barclays closure will have on the town and on them.

One of the major headaches is being able to obtain coins so they can give change to customers paying in cash. At present they can go into Barclays and pay to have notes changed up.

It costs traders five per cent of the change they want, which is a separate issue. But once the branch is closed the only other place they can obtain change is via the Post Office, however it has to be ordered in advance.

Adrian Lambert, who runs Greetings in High Street, said: "The only problem with that is you obviously don't know when you are going to need change so it is hard to order it in ready."

That's where Chatteris in Business, a group open to all registered businesses in the town, comes in. Members have come up with the 'Change Exchange' where anyone needing coinage can put out an SOS via a secure Whatsapp message asking others for help.

Helen Free, who runs Rainbow Valley, explained: "It is a simple idea, and one which should be mutually beneficial. Not only can people get the change they need, they can do it without having to pay bank charges.

"Banks also charge to pay money into business accounts, so it is also a way of people getting rid of their change. Any tax-registered business can join our group and sign up for the 'Change Exchange'.

"Part of our group's aims is to help and support each other and this is just one way of doing that. We hold two meetings a month, our main meeting is on the fourth Tuesday and is held at the Cross Keys from 7pm. The other is less formal and is on the second Tuesday of the month."

The group is free to join and the only requirement is your business must have a Chatteris address and be tax-registered. There is also a Chatteris in Business Facebook page where businesses can advertise themselves for free.

Helen said: "Lots of Facebook pages don't allow advertising, our page is the opposite, we set it up so Chatteris businesses can shamelessly self-promote themselves. It is restricted only to Chatteris businesses as it is about promoting what we have to offer in our town."

Anyone wishing to join Chatteris in Business is welcome to attend the monthly meeting tomorrow (26) at the Cross Keys from 7pm or email: chatterisinbusiness@gmail.com for details.

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