Newcastle Building Society customer director, Stuart Miller, has been appointed to the board of the national High Streets Task Force to help co-ordinate a response to generate the recovery of England’s high streets.

The announcement came as high streets minister Simon Clarke MP officially launched a range of support for high streets in England and confirmed the appointments to the board and its chair.

The High Streets Task Force is an alliance of subject matter experts focused on helping communities and local governments across England transform their high streets using data insight, training and practical support. Stuart joins nine other board members to help guide the work of the Task Force.

Stuart will draw on the Society’s experience of working collaboratively with its communities. Its creativity and innovative solutions have helped it grow its physical presence on high streets and in rural towns, which includes the new branches recently opened in Hawes and Wooler, ensuring essential access to financial services for local people.

Stuart Miller said: “We still firmly believe in the future of the high street and its role at the heart of our communities. A vibrant high street is crucial to the health of the local economy and has a huge impact on people’s social connections and wellbeing.

“We know the devastating impact a declining high street and the lack of access to financial services has on its communities, which is why we’ve worked so hard to maintain and grow our branch network over the past few years. There is much more to be done, and it’s evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has made that job a lot harder.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the board of the High Streets Task Force and hope our experience and dedication to communities will play a role in the revitalisation of local economies and high streets across England.”

Newcastle Building Society is the largest Building Society in the north east and eighth largest in the UK. The Society is currently undergoing a multi-million branch investment programme and recently increased its branch numbers from 27 to 31 in 2019.

To meet the needs of vulnerable customers and those who don’t bank online, the Society has maintained an essential transactions service, throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, keeping all but one of its branches open while applying strict safety procedures to keep customers and colleagues safe. Its Yarm branch is located within the town library, which was temporarily closed.

For more information on the High Streets Task Force, visit www.highstreetstaskforce.org.uk or for more information on Newcastle Building Society, visit www.newcastle.co.uk