An independent Northumberland charity is aiming to help more older local people keep their finances in order with the help of a four-figure grant from Newcastle Building Society.

Age UK Northumberland is providing a free finance check service for anyone aged 50 and above as part of its wider work towards supporting older people, their families and their carers, and already reaches around 5,000 people right across the county every year.

The charity is now using a £3,000 Newcastle Building Society grant to widen access to and raise greater awareness of the guidance and advice that its qualified advisers and trained volunteers can provide in person, over the phone and online.

The funding has been provided through the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which offers grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary next year, Age UK Northumberland provides a wide range of services, activities and events which help meet local needs, including personal care, exercise and falls prevention classes, befriending and and social groups.

It runs a dedicated Friendship Line for anyone aged over 60 who thinks they’d benefit from additional social contact, a bereavement support service and a weekly Live Well dementia group currently running in Morpeth and Ashington.

Amy Whyte, Chief Executive at Age UK Northumberland, says: “Taking a long-term approach to addressing financial pressures is the best way to go for everyone, but sometimes we just don’t really know which way to turn when issues become apparent.

“This is when our specialists at Age UK Northumberland can step in and take the pressure off, working with people to complete the application forms, ensure they’re including the right information and appeal on their behalf if necessary.

“Our expert advisors assess each person’s individual situation and take a caring and thoughtful approach towards identifying the best way to help them.

“We tend to find that many of the people who come to us for help with one specific situation actually need support with a number of other issues, so we try to take a holistic approach to addressing these various different requirements and will signpost clients towards other services as well as offering our own expertise.

“There’s perhaps never been more pressure on older people’s finances than there is today and we encourage people to get in touch and let us work with them to ensure that they’re getting everything that they’re entitled to.

“The support we’ve had from Newcastle Building Society will help us reach more people in need across the county and will make a positive difference to the quality of life they’re able to enjoy.”

Stephen Burt, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Station Road branch in Ashington, adds: “Age UK Northumberland’s approach mirrors our own aim to connect communities to a better financial future, and the charity’s work is clearly making a tangible difference to the lives of thousands of people across our heartland area.”

Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund has contributed over £2.1m in grants and partnerships to a wide variety of charities and projects across the region, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Prince’s Trust.

The grants are so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 151,000 people.

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.