A new money-saving scheme is helping children learn the importance of staying out of debt.

The Durham Savers scheme is part of an initiative by Durham County Council to tackle poverty and change debt culture into a culture of saving.

More than 50 schools around County Durham have joined the scheme so far, with a further 10 expected to sign up before Christmas.

The participating schools include Horndale Infant School, in Newton Aycliffe, where more than 50 youngsters aged between three and seven-years-old have signed up as savers.

Staff have also been getting in on the act, with eight joining a salary savings scheme through NEFirst Credit Union.

Paul Atkinson, Durham Savers project lead, said: “More than half of the population have less than £100 in savings and would struggle if they lost their job or faced unexpected expenses.

“However, research shows that learning about saving before the age of seven can have a positive impact on our ability to manage money in our adult lives.

“It is, therefore, important that we do as much as we can to encourage children not to make the same mistakes as many adults – racking up often crippling debt instead of saving.”

For more information about the Durham Savers initiative, visit www.durham.gov.uk/durhamsavers or email durhamsaversproject@durham.gov.uk