Foundation is first organisation to get dormant account money directly from a building society

The Newcastle Building Society has passed £1m of dormant account money to the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

Dormant money can go to charities (Photograph: utah778/Getty Images)
Dormant money can go to charities (Photograph: utah778/Getty Images)

A community foundation has become the first charity in the UK to get dormant account money directly from a building society.

The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has received £1m in dormant account funding from Newcastle Building Society, doubling the total amount awarded to the charity by the building society during their partnership.

The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 allows money that has lain untouched in bank accounts for 15 or more years – and where the owner cannot be contacted – to be transferred to charity.

All previous payments of dormant account funding have been run through an intermediary, with the National Lottery Community Fund one of the principal organisations involved.

The £1m awarded to the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland constituted the first time that a bank or building society had given the money directly to a charitable cause, the foundation said, and was done with the assistance of the Reclaim Fund.

It was given as part of an alternative scheme whereby building societies with less than £7bn on their balance sheets can give dormant funds directly to local and aligned charities.

Rob Williamson, chief executive of the Community Foundation, said: "It is no surprise to see the society leading the way on dormant account funds and we are honoured to be the recipient of this first-of-its kind donation.

"We look forward to continuing to make a difference through our work with Newcastle Building Society and all our other individual, family and business donors."

Andrew Haigh, chief executive of Newcastle Building Society, said: "For us it is important to be able to make a difference here in the north east, where our members and branches are, rather than contributing to a national pot.

"So we are delighted to be the first building society to agree this arrangement with the Reclaim Fund and we look forward to seeing others using the alternative scheme to support their own local communities."

In 2017, the Dormant Assets Commission estimated that a further £2bn in unclaimed assets, such as investments, pensions and insurance, could be available.

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