Students from Chaucer School in Sheffield have helped their local community step back in time by hosting a summer event with afternoon tea and music from across the ages. The pupils organised the event after winning Northern Powergrid's Watt a Community competition to design and pitch an event which promotes the electricity distributor's Priority Services Register and encourage more vulnerable people to support each other during a power cut.
The event, held at The Parsons Cross Forum in Sheffield, is the accumulation of Northern Powergrid's Watt a Community competition – designed to get students thinking about vulnerability within their local community. The company partnered with social enterprise Ahead Partnership to deliver the project which saw groups of pupils from the Sheffield School compete to come up with the best event which would bring the community together and raise awareness of how to get help during a power cut.
The winning idea ' Step back in to summer' brought older people together for afternoon tea and music from the 1930's on-wards, with a number of organisation from the local community in attendance to give advice and information including B:Friend, Age UK Sheffield, South Yorkshire Police - Community Support Officer and Holmes Adult Carer Service alongside Northern Powergrid's team encouraging anyone who may need extra help in a power cut to sign up to its free Priority Services Register.
Siobhan Barton, Northern Powergrid's head of stakeholder relations, said: "Watt a Community has been such a success – it's great to see so many people turn up from the local community and have both an informative and enjoyable afternoon. It's a credit to the great ideas and hard work of the winning pupils and staff at Chaucer School.
"For most people a power cut is rare, thanks to our investment in the power network, and will just be an inconvenience – but for someone who has a medical condition or equipment which relies on electricity, is disabled, elderly or has young children, it could have a greater impact. That's why spreading the word about our free Priority Services Register is so important and the students' event has certainly spread the word in Sheffield."
Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s chief executive, said: “This project has shown how effective social action projects can be in helping young people reach out to their local community. Not only have they hosted an event for older people in their neighbourhood, they have worked with mentors from Northern Powergrid to share valuable information about the Priority Services Register.
“The students brought thought and imagination to their ideas and their planning, teamwork and execution on the day was exemplary. With lots of people signing up to Northern Powergrid's register and as well as many of them who will be encouraging friends and family to do so. The students should be congratulated on meeting their brief and creating a day that has left a real legacy within the community.”
Ms Self, higher education engagement at Chaucer School, said: "The students have been working really hard to plan the event. In addition to their studies, they've had regular meetings to organise things, improving their organisation and team work skills. It's great to see them interacting so well with the older people from our community today. They have done a brilliant job."
Sienna Taylor - aged 14, one of the winning students who helped to create the event, said: "It was quite hard to plan the event because it was difficult to get the team together but we managed and we're so pleased the event has gone so well today. Thank you Northern Powergrid for sponsoring the event and to the staff at Parsons Cross Forum for their support."
Northern Powergrid's free Priority Service Register provides extra support to anyone with a disability, medical condition or very young families, who may need greater assistance during a power cut. If you, or anyone you know would benefit from help during a power cut, sign up online or call the Powergrid Care team on 0800 169 2996.