Newcastle Building Society introduces cost of living support for members

‘Helping Hand’ is a supportive, free-to-use advice and guidance service for customers who may be facing severe financial hardship as a result of rising living costs.

A dedicated telephone hotline and email service delivered by Citizen’s Advice Gateshead on behalf of the Society, will identify individuals’ immediate issues, explore their financial problems and provide advice around further benefits or sources of income that may be available to them.

The Society is investing more than £130,000 in support over the next 12 months, which is also available to any colleagues who may be struggling, and provides a full time welfare advice expert, dedicated to providing support for Society referrals.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, said: “The cost of living crisis, a combination of high inflation impacting food and fuel, together with the effect of a rising bank base rate, are creating pressures from multiple directions, causing a whole new group of people to face financial challenges at a scale they may not have encountered before.

“As a member-owned organisation we’re committed to doing what we can to support customers who are experiencing real difficulties in the face of rising costs of living. We know many people are faced with making some really hard choices and are going without even the basics in an attempt to stay financially afloat. Others may already be experiencing the vicious cycle of debt, some for the first time.”

This is the first step in a partnership that will provide real and meaningful support to help those that need it most to improve their financial situation. It will help them benefit from government support, and will also include shopping vouchers which Citizens Advice Gateshead will distribute as emergency support while other measures are put in place.

Citizens Advice Gateshead provides free, confidential and impartial advice, information and guidance and is the North East Charity of the Year 2022. It has supported more than 19,000 people last year with over 82,000 issues ranging from welfare benefits and financial wellbeing to consumer law and discrimination at work.

Alison Dunn, chief executive of Citizens Advice Gateshead said: “The cost of living crisis is having a real and devastating impact on the lives of people across the region; people who are already living with some of the highest poverty and lowest economic growth figures in the country.

“As winter draws in, more and more families – some who would never have imagined they would be in this position last year – are facing unimaginable choices around food, heat, clothing and looking after their children.

“Now, more than ever, they need independent advice and information and we’re proud to be working alongside Newcastle Building Society to make ensure their members and colleagues are supported during these difficult times.”

The programme is part of a package of measures put in place by Newcastle Building Society to support members, including access to warm spaces in branches for members and community groups, as well as its new Sustainability Hub that can help you can make choices at home to help protect our planet.

Credit: Bdaily

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