VIDEO: England international reopens Lloyds bank in West Street, Horsham

Lloyds ‘new branch’ was opened by Southwater’s ex-England football international Alan Mullery MBE, this morning (November 27).

The football pundit has been a customer at the branch for 13 years and presented two cheques worth £3,000 to recipients of its Community Fund.

JPCT 271113 S13481086x Lloyds bank. horsham. Alan Mullery MBE opens the refurbished bank -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 271113 S13481086x Lloyds bank. horsham. Alan Mullery MBE opens the refurbished bank -photo by Steve Cobb

The West Street bank refurbishment has made it more open-plan in accordance to customer feedback.

Mr Mullery said: “Somebody asked me at the bank if I would do it and I said yeah.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve seen something like this, they’ve made a really good job of it.

“It was a fairly old building, it’s been very well modernised.”

The branch now includes improved internet-banking and other self-service facilities.

The Snack Wagon and The Barns Green Youth Club (BGYC) received grants of £3,000 each from the bank’s annual community fund after coming top in a public vote of a shortlist of community groups.

Runners-up The Biscuit Barrel Theatre and Horsham Nursery School and Family Centre received cheques worth £300.

The funds will ease the charities’ financial worries following cuts to youth services across the county and allow both to focus on helping young people.

Simon Gale, 54, who has been the BGYC chair since its establishment eight years ago, said: “It’s amazing. As youth services are cutting down across the area we rely very much on the parish council and local grants - this particular grant and the money we got assures us that we will be able to operate for another couple of years.

“From our point of view it means we can focus on the young people and not worry so much about the funding.”

Mr Gale gave special thanks to the ‘fantastic’ Barns Green volunteers who support the club - which provides social and educational opportunities to local young people aged 11-16.

The Snack Wagon helps young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

Tracey Greening, the group’s youth worker-in-charge, said: “It’s fantastic news that we can carry on working with the young people - it’s going to make a big difference.

“With this money we are going to be able to buy a laptop and have WiFi for them to be able to do online CVs and access services that they need.”

The youth worker thanked Leanne Imrie, organiser of the day and branch cashier who nominated The Snack Box for the fund.

Ms Imrie, has worked at the branch since 1989 and got to know Tracey, who uses the bank for the Snack Wagon’s finances.

She said: “When the initiative was brought up in beginning of the year I knew how hard she works, how hard funding was and she was talking to me generally about funding cuts this year, so I just put her name forward.

On the refurbishment she added: “Customers tell us they like bright, airy, open-plan branches so we’ve reacted to that.”