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Our new community branch in Knaresborough is managed by Heather Pearman. Find out more about Heather, what Knaresborough means to her, and how she sees Newcastle Building Society becoming part of the community in the town.

When did you join Newcastle Building Society?

I joined the Society in summer 2022 after seeing they were opening a branch in Knaresborough. I’ve worked in financial services for over 15 years and Knaresborough was where it all began! I’ve worked in all sorts of roles and I just love helping people and seeing people achieve their financial goals.

What’s special about Knaresborough?

You only have to step foot in Knaresborough to appreciate its unique atmosphere driven by the hive of activity and centuries of history embedded throughout the town. From our bustling weekly market, to our collection of independent retailers, including florists, music stores and art galleries tucked away down cobbled paths. Not to forget the Knaresborough Viaduct, dominating the skyline over the River Nidd.

With so much going on, locals have been crying out for a return of financial services to the town after the last bank closed over a year ago. This is why the opportunity to help restore access to cash for residents was such a huge pull for me. The Society has clearly listened to what its customers want, and so the concept of its community branch was one I felt I could really get behind.

What are you looking forward to most?

I’m looking forward to seeing some old faces once again. Having those personal relationships with many local Knaresborough residents, that I have nurtured over the past two decades, will no doubt help the branch to embed itself into the community, and tap-in to what the town really needs from its local building society.

Educating children and young people on the importance of finance is also an exciting prospect for me, and something that I wholeheartedly believe is crucial to giving younger generations the best possible start in life, whether this be through partnerships with community groups or local schools and colleges.

What does ‘community’ mean to you?

For me, community involves Knaresborough’s residents and businesses, people of all ages and backgrounds in our local area. As part of my role as branch manager I’m keen to speak to a wide variety of locals to understand how, as a branch, we can serve them best.

As a Society, a key objective for the business is supporting communities our branch network serves through the work undertaken by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation. To date we have supported local charities and community groups with over £2.1million in grants and donations, helping more than 151,000 people across our communities.

I can’t wait for our Community Fund to begin to have an impact in Knaresborough and, as time goes on, see how partnerships with local good causes evolve to meet the needs of its residents.

What do you make of the concept of a branch within a library?

It’s innovative but I also know that Newcastle Building Society have done something similar in Yarm, Wooler and Hawes. It makes a lot of sense to group services together, making lives easier for residents and services benefit from increased footfall.