Newcastle Building Society’s Ashington branch has been officially re-opened following its refurbishment.

The branch was opened by Sara Robinson, head of healthy living charity The Full Circle Food Project.

The refurbished, open plan branch on Station Road has been created as part of an ongoing multi-million pound investment programme across the whole of the society’s branch network.

The two-month refurbishment project has been designed to provide Society customers with better access to services, information and advice, as well as additional space for transactions.

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

The Full Circle Food Project aims to educate people living in Northumberland about growing food to eat and healthy cooking on a budget, and provides support towards them leading healthier lifestyles.

It received a £3,000 grant from Newcastle Building Society to help fund a ‘Cook Well, Eat Well’ project which was delivered to around 30 elderly and vulnerable adults to help combat social exclusion and increase participants’ health and well-being.

The charity has its own kitchen gardens at Hirst Welfare Centre as well as a large community garden space in Seaton Hirst, and most of its work is carried out by a dedicated team of local volunteers.

Its next big event is a free February Family Feast in Hirst Park Pavilion between midday and 1pm on Wednesday 20 February at which children will be able to make their own pizza in the charity’s outdoor oven.

As part of the re-opening event, the Society held a free draw for a £250 Valentine’s Day hamper filled with treats sourced from local suppliers which was won by Judith and Ken Morrison.

Ivy Campbell, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Ashington branch, said: “We’ve had a really positive response from our customers since we completed the branch refurbishment and it’s been great to be welcome so many of them along to our official opening.

“Full Circle is doing excellent work across our community to help local people make healthier lifestyle choices and we’re grateful to Sara for being the guest of honour at our official opening.”