SurreySave is one of a number of new credit unions that sprang up in communities across the country in the wake of the banking crisis. Formally launched on the 9th of January 2012, SurreySave has been going from strength to strength, reaching 1000 members in March 2014, and three months later announced that members had deposited their first £1 million of shares.

Credit unions are financial co-operatives; not-for-profit and owned and controlled by their members. Decisions are made democratically amongst members, and there are no external shareholders. Most credit unions, particularly in the UK, focus their efforts on supporting the local community from which they stem and investing ethically. The intent is to be able to offer local members more competitive rates for loans and related services than banks and building societies.

Estimates from the World Council of Credit Unions put global credit union members at 118 million in 94 countries. They are especially popular in Ireland, America and the Caribbean. In the UK, there are over 550 credit unions and more than 550,000 members – and these numbers are growing rapidly.

SurreySave Credit Union has so far awarded loans worth over £750,000 to Surrey citizens and received many messages of thanks from those whose lives have been transformed by being able to access affordable credit. They pride themselves on offering finance to the financially excluded that cannot access standard high street banking. In this way they hope to improve the community as a whole, with an ‘all in it together’ philosophy.

There are numerous examples of Surrey citizens being able to access finance from SurreySave, rather than having to resort to loan sharks or pay day lenders. The rates are better, the trust is higher; and in the end the community as a whole benefits.

By Stephan Burn

You know what they say: When life gives you lemons, use them as garnish for the booziest cocktail you can conceive of. So, when most of your life changes in unexpected ways, why not go all the way? So, I have renounced my previous employment and will henceforth focus on writing. Writing anything; anything at all. Ideally for money. The goal is to get myself to a position where instead of hating my day-job I am instead focussing on what I love and hoping I can get my writing career to the point where it can pay for luxuries like …read more

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By Stephan Burn

When you shoot on film, there’s an urgency that starts happening. On 35 mm 2 perf, you have about nine minutes and twenty seconds and then the mag [film magazine] runs out. And the actors pretty quickly start to recognize that time. The actors are like athletes.It’s like a quarter of football. They have nine minutes and twenty seconds to get some points on the board to make things happen. They can feel it. Versus on digital – you can shoot forever.

Derek Cianfrance – Director/ writer of Blue Valentine & The Place Beyond The Pines

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By Stephan Burn

Chef Poster

A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

Jon Favreau wrote, directed and stars in this quite sweet little food-based discovery of self and overall it’s a nice film. Favreau brings in his friends Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson and the cast, Favreau included, are wonderful and bring a tasty buffet of talent. There’s some delicious food-porn and the music choices in particular are tasty indeed!

If you want to see it and enjoy it, I suggest you stop reading here. Because …read more

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By Stephan Burn

Icon-Writing-150

I’m very grateful to Scott Myers of Go Into The Story for putting up my script analysis of Hanna as part of his 30 Days of Screenplays series of guest posts.

I love Hanna, the blend of fairy tale and action movie is an excellent one and allows the story to take some unexpected genre twists. So, if you fancy it, have a read of the script here, then tell me if you agree with my analysis!

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Link: Where do highest-grossing screenplays come from?

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By Stephan Burn

edge-of-tomorrow-blunt

I’m trying to make sure I go to the cinema more often, so last week I went to see Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. It was either that or X-Men: Days of Future Past. There seemed to be a time travel element to both, but despite my reservations about Tom Cruise, I’ve pretty much hit superhero fatigue at this point. I’m still looking forward to the gloriously ridiculous Guardians of the Galaxy, but beyond that it’s getting harder and harder to get excited about the next Marvellous Men In Tights Movie.

I enjoyed …read more

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