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, is also actively supporting charities and organisations across the region.
The electricity network operator has mobilised 70 of its apprentices and graduate trainees, who are not yet able to actively work on its network, to support a range of charities including Age UK (Bradford, Selby, North and South Tyneside), Barnsley Council Safer Stronger Communities, the Deaf Blind Society, FareShare UK, Trussell Trust, Red Cross, Skill for People (Redcar), Leeds Community Foundation, NHS England, Hull 4 Heroes and Learning Partnerships (Leeds).
This week Joe Petrie, an overhead linesman who usually works on the company’s live electricity network but is currently carrying out light duties following a surgical procedure earlier this year, dedicated his week to supporting FareShare - the UK's largest charity fighting hunger and food waste.
Joe has been using one of the electricity network operator’s customer support vehicles to drive around Gateshead delivering food to local churches and food banks on behalf of FareShare UK. Joe, who is usually based in Ashington, said: “I was asked if it was something I’d like to do and I was really pleased to be part of this. It’s been great being able to get out and about in the community and support valuable work to help vulnerable customers. Everywhere we’ve been, people have been kind, respectful of social distancing and incredibly grateful for the support we’re providing.”
Meanwhile in Hull, three of Northern Powergrid’s first year apprentices who are currently not able to work in the field volunteered to support Hull 4 Heroes (H4H). For the past few days Luke Bryce, Daniel Hardy and Jack Kerridge have been working tirelessly sorting and delivering food parcels to vulnerable veterans in East Yorkshire.
Luke, pictured far right, said: “Hull4Heroes was introduced to me a few years ago while I was serving in the Army. My soon to be brother-in-law, who’s also a veteran, was doing some work for them and became good friends with the founder. Charities likes H4H are absolutely vital in supporting vulnerable veterans who are living with a disability or mental health issues. After nearly eight years in the Royal Engineers, I wanted to help and was pleased that Northern Powergrid made it possible for my fellow apprentices Daniel and Jack to join me and be part of this important work in our local community.”
Patrick Erwin, Northern Powergrid’s Policy and Market Director, said: “In addition to ensuring that our network remains resilient and is continuing to work as it should be for our customers, we wanted to see how else we can support the communities that we’re a vital part of.
“Our customer support vehicles are usually used as community meeting hubs to support customers if there’s a prolonged power cut but in the current circumstances we wanted to see if we could use them more appropriately throughout the day to support local communities in these challenging times.
“Joe, Luke, Daniel and Jack represent what it means to be part of Team Powergrid. Our team of professional colleagues already help power peoples’ lives and are supporting other key workers in the NHS and supermarkets. We’re incredibly proud of how many of our colleagues have not just stepped up to deliver our vital role in society during this pandemic – but are also prepared to step forward as community volunteers and go above and beyond their usual role.”
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.
Today (9 April) the UK’s energy networks launched a joint public awareness campaign to share how network companies like Northern Powergrid are keeping the energy flowing for customers. To find out more about this and how Northern Powergrid and its people are following expert Government and public health advice and powering the region during the pandemic visit northernpowergrid.com/coronavirus
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.