Following a successful pilot the region’s largest building society is expanding the Gosforth-based Slow Shopping initiative across its entire branch network from this week.

Newcastle Building Society is supporting the initiative – which was started by Gosforth resident, Katherine Vero, following her mother’s dementia diagnosis, –  by making the Slow Shopping experience available in its 29 branches across the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

Slow Shopping particularly caters for those who live with visible, invisible, intellectual or cognitive disability.  As part of Slow Shopping, retailers dedicate times when shopping can be more relaxed, where more trained staff can be available and there are more opportunities to sit down.

Newcastle Building Society is the first financial services provider in the UK to train its branch staff to deliver Slow Shopping across its entire network.  Each of its 29 branches will host Slow Shopping on a different time and day and will be promoting the times and days within each branch.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive of Newcastle Building Society, said: “This is a fantastic initiative and we’re proud to be playing a full and active role in supporting it throughout the region at each of our branches.

“Katherine has trained all of our branch managers across our network and we’re looking forward to working with her to continue to improve services for our customers who may need a little extra time when conducting their financial affairs.”

During periods of Slow Shopping, branches will not play music, lights will be dimmed and colleagues of the Society will be focused on providing a special experience supportive to these particular needs.

Katherine Vero, founder of Slow Shopping, said: “I’ve been working with the Society since March when their Gosforth branch first introduced Slow Shopping. I’m so pleased that they’ve decided to roll this out across the branch network as it will help a variety of people across the North East and Cumbria who may need more time or support with their finances. ”

Branch timings

Chester le Street Wednesday 3-5
Consett Wednesday 9-11
Darlington Thursday 3-5
Durham Wednesday 2-4
Gateshead Thursday  2-4
Hartlepool Wednesday 2-4
Hexham Wednesday 2-4
Portland Friday 3-5
Middlesbrough Thursdays 2.30 – 4.30
Sunderland Wednesday 2-4
Stokesley Wednesday 2.30 – 4.30
West Denton Wednesday  3-5
Whickham Wednesday 9-11
Barnard Castle Wednesday 2-4
Alnwick Wednesday 2.30 – 4.30
Ashington Thursday 9-11
Berwick Thursday 2-4
Carlisle Thursday 9-11
Cramlington Wednesday 3-5
Gosforth Tuesday 9-11
Morpeth Thursday 9.15 – 11
North Shields Wednesday 2-4
Northumberland Street Wednesday 9.30 – 11.30
Penrith Wednesday 3-5
Ponteland Wednesday 3-5
South Shields Wednesday 3-5
Whitley Bay Wednesday 9-11
Yarm TBC (awaiting branch training)
Bishop Auckland TBC, awaiting branch opening