The head of a Tynedale community group has cut the ribbon to officially open the North East’s biggest building society’s new Hexham branch.

Newcastle Building Society invited John Cook from Action4Acomb to do the honours at its new full service and financial advice branch on Beaumont Street, which has been created as part of the Society’s ongoing multi-million-pound branch network investment programme.

Previously the home of the former Dickinsons furniture store, the new branch sits opposite Hexham Abbey and offers a modern and welcoming environment that gives customers easy access to services, information and advice.

A community space which offers a free location in which local people, groups and good causes can hold meetings and events also forms part of the new branch design.

Action4Acomb is a community-led organisation which aims to help realise the aspirations of people living and working in the village of Acomb, which sits a couple of miles outside Hexham.

Earlier this year, it won a £2,846 grant from Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund to pay for the installation of two large picnic tables at the village’s playground and to repair the surface on which they now stand.

The Society is more than two thirds of the way through an ambitious branch improvement programme which will see work on new or improved facilities in every part of its existing branch network and new branches being opened in a number of locations across the North East and North Yorkshire.

Hannah Samuel, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Hexham branch, said: “Taking on such a prominent position in the middle of town clearly demonstrates the Society’s commitment to being part of the region’s High Streets and the impact of the investment we’ve made in the new branch is clear for all to see.

“There’s been lots of local interest in what we’ve been doing as work has progressed and it was great to able to welcome so many of our Tynedale customers to our official opening.

“Making grants available through our Community Fund is just one of the ways in which we look to give back to our communities, and we’re very grateful to John for taking the time to cut the ribbon for us in Hexham.”