Nationwide West MidsYoung people from across the West Midlands are set to benefit from an innovative financial education link-up between West Midlands Fire Service and Nationwide Building Society.

The new programme is being delivered at WMFS’s Safeside centre in Birmingham. Visitors are being taught to be more financially aware in a variety of scenarios and settings - including a full-size, virtual Nationwide branch, complete with cash machine.

Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer for the West Midlands, said: "We’re very proud of the varied yet fully integrated programme of courses offered by Safeside. They contribute directly to the personal and community safety awareness of the thousands of young people who visit every year.

"Fighting fires and attending traffic collisions are just a part of what we’re about. By working with young people to influence their behaviour, we’re helping them to stay safe and take responsibility in many different areas of their lives."

The scheme is the latest element in an integrated programme of courses offered in Safeside’s interactive indoor street environment, complementing West Midlands Fire Service’s wider community safety agenda.

Volunteers from local Nationwide offices are teaming up with Safeside presenters to deliver the two-hour tour session to groups of pupils predominantly from Years 9-11. Some 8,000 children and young people will visit the new Nationwide branch this year.

Stephen Uden, Head of Citizenship at Nationwide, added: "Nationwide is proud to be part of this important work. Through our virtual branch and the efforts of our staff volunteers, we are confident we can make a real difference to the understanding of Safeside’s young visitors, equipping them to make safe, sensible and confident financial choices."