Six apprentices from Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network that is powering homes, hospitals and supermarkets across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire during the pandemic, have been praised by Hull4Heroes for their outstanding support to veterans and key workers in East Yorkshire.
Hull4Heroes founder, Paul Matson, said “We’ve been fortunate to have six volunteers from Northern Powergrid supporting our work to help ex-service personnel. They were the first volunteers to come forward and enabled us to hit the ground running when Covid-19 struck.
“They are outstanding people who just get on with the job and helped us to set up the warehouse that Hull City Council gave us.
“They’ve enabled us to supply over 400 veterans daily with food parcels and meals. We also supply 500 hot meals a day to key workers within the NHS and Fire Service. Additionally we send out 10 care packages a day to local care homes.
“I just want to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to Northern Powergrid for saving us, as when you’re ‘Dream Team’ turned up we knew we would be able to run this much needed project.”
The ‘dream team’, Aaron Barwick, Luke Bryce, Dan Chambers, Daniel Hardy, Jack Kerridge and Dan Precious, are part of a wider team of around 70 apprentices from Northern Powergrid who were ready to support communities across the company’s operating area. In total, Northern Powergrid has enabled its first year apprentices, who are not yet able to actively work on its network, to give more than 1,800 hours of volunteering time during the pandemic to date.
The link between Northern Powergrid and Hull4Heroes was formed thanks to apprentice Luck Bryce. Luke formerly served in the Armed Forces’ Royal Engineers in Catterick Garrison (North Yorkshire). Back in 2019 Luke met Northern Powergrid project engineer Chris Palmer who was presenting about the opportunities for ex-service people in the energy network sector. Chris’ speech inspired Luke to apply for an apprenticeship to become a fully qualified fitter.
Luke, who encouraged his fellow Hull-based apprentices to get involved and form the ‘dream team’, said; “Coming out of the military and transitioning to a new career can be challenging but Northern Powergrid really appreciates the transferable skills from the armed forces. The opportunity I’ve been given as an apprentice is helping me get a new career and help me avoid potentially ending up in a similar situation as some of the veterans we’ve been helping.
“I got involved with Hull4Heroes thanks to my soon-to-be brother-in-law who also served in the military and is a friend of Paul who founded the charity. I’ve helped previously with some charity functions and, as a former Royal Engineer, I knew I had to help fellow veterans in this time of need.”
Apprentice Aaron Barwick added: “I got a real buzz and sense of achievement by being involved. It’s given me something to focus on during the pandemic and I’ve met some amazing veterans and key workers.
“The gratitude from those we’ve helped is heartfelt and you realise what a difference these acts can make. By learning about the charity I was also able to help a family friend who’d recently lost her husband. Brenda, whose 84, was brought to tears by the support of us delivering a food parcel. She said it was not just the parcel, it was having someone to talk to - albeit it from a distance - that made a real difference to her.”
Andy Bilclough, Northern Powergrid’s director of field operation, said: “Luke and his fellow apprentices have certainly earned the title of ‘dream team’ from Hull4Heroes. They have been outstanding ambassadors for Northern Powergrid and shown what it means to be part of our team.
“We know our cables, power lines, substations and key workers and network play a vital role powering everyday life for millions of people during the pandemic but our apprentices, who aren’t yet ready to work on our network, have also stepped forward and made a difference to the communities we serve. I could not be prouder and I congratulate Aaron, Luke, Dan (C), Daniel, Jack and Dan (P) on what they’ve achieved. I’m sure their families are equally proud of their superb effort.”
Northern Powergrid also supports customers who may be more vulnerable through its free Priority Services Register. Any customers who may need additional advice or support due to their medical circumstances, or are currently ‘shielding’ in line with government and public health advice, may wish to consider joining by visiting northernpowergrid.com/cares or calling 0800 169 2296.
The network operator, which is carrying out necessary works and repairs to keep its network safe and reliable for customers, is reminding people that they should only approach its teams in an emergency – and always maintain social distancing. Anyone needing support can contact Northern Powergrid 24/7 on social media (Facebook or Twitter @NorthPowergrid) or by calling 105. Its website also provides information and advice to support customers if they need to report a power cut.
To find out more about how Northern Powergrid and how its people are powering the region during the pandemic visit northernpowergrid.com/coronavirus or follow the network operator on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.