Building society branch plan for Wooler

Financial services are set to return to a north Northumberland town thanks to an innovative partnership.

Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 5:06 pm
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 9:50 pm
Andrew Haigh, centre, of Newcastle Building Society, with Patrick Sheard, left, and Tom Johnston of GGT.

Newcastle Building Society and the Glendale Gateway Trust (GGT) have agreed an intention to establish a community branch in Wooler.

The town has been without banking services since Barclays closed its branch in November 2018.

The intention of the partnership is to have a fully functioning community branch in place by the end of the year, based in the Cheviot Centre community hub that boasts tourist information services, a library and community meeting spaces.

Tom Johnston, GGT chief executive, said: “It’s a very interesting and exciting development – the first of its kind in Northumberland for the Newcastle Building Society.

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“They are looking to move into communities where banks have gone and work with community organisations, occupying community spaces which help to keep the other community facilities sustainable.

“It will be open three days a week and people will be able to come in and deposit money.”

The GGT has been active in creating significant improvements in the town, such as buying up neglected buildings to create modern and attractive affordable homes, promoting rural business development and managing a community and business centre offering small business facilities and office pods for start-up businesses to rent.

The proposed partnership with Newcastle Building Society is part of a wider picture of the trust’s regeneration and improvement programme, which has already rejuvenated the high street and delivered an effective approach to building community sustainability.

For Newcastle Building Society, the move is part of a wider strategy to create a step change in how it delivers its services to towns and communities.

Increasing its branch network at a time when many banks and building societies are reducing their high street presence is part of a long-term commitment to the provision of face-to-face local financial services and financial advice across its regions.