Citizen Andy Cuts The Ribbon At Newcastle Building Society's New Carlisle Branch Release Date 17 December The head of a Cumbrian community support group has cut the ceremonial ribbon at the official opening of Newcastle Building Society's new Carlisle branch. Andy Auld, chief executive of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, was invited to officially open the Society's new branch at 65 English Street in front of dozens of customers and other guests. Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, which offers free, confidential, independent, and impartial advice and information from their two main sites in Carlisle and Penrith,was recently given a £2,000 grant from the Society to pay for a range of new IT equipment which will help improve the service it can provide. The funding was provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which has been set up to provide grants to charities and community groups that are located in or around the communities served by the Society's branch network, and put forward for support by its customers. A range of local traders selling a range of locally-produced festive gifts set up their stalls in the branch's new community area as part of the official opening event, while there were also carol singers performing and free refreshments provided. The Society also hosted a separate Christmas-themed family event as part of welcoming customers into the new branch, with Santa Claus visiting and giving presents to children including money boxes, chocolates, sweets, stationery and five pound vouchers they can use to open their own regular saver accounts. Newcastle Building Society has created its new English Street branch as part of a continuing multi-million pound investment programme across the whole of its branch network, and has maintained the key existing features of its new Carlisle home, including its grand staircase, stained glass window and feature ceiling. The new 2,000 sq ft branch gives customers better access to services, information and advice, as well as to improved meeting spaces in which they can discuss all aspects of personal financial planning. The branch's community area provides a free space in which local people, groups and good causes can hold meetings and events, as well as share information about activities that are happening in the local area. Andy Auld, chief executive of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, says: "We are grateful to the Society for the grant which we have used to purchase new IT equipment. "The benefit system increasingly expects people to apply and manage claims online. Many of the people who come to us lack the skills or the means to do this, and this equipment will enable us to support them in our offices as well as allowing us to take our advice and support out to community locations." Daniel Nixon, manager at Newcastle Building Society's Carlisle branch, adds: “Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden makes a big difference to the lives of many people living across our community, and we're very grateful to Andy for taking the time to do the official opening honours for us. "These events have given us a great chance to introduce our impressive new Carlisle home and we're extremely pleased with the response that we've had to what we've created."