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Power firm leads the way with Makaton message

People who use Makaton for everyday communication can now understand how to get help in a power cut and stay safe around electricity, thanks to new YouTube videos.

From Press releases - 26 March 2019 12:00 AM

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The UKs biggest electricity distributor UK Power Networks, which delivers electricity across the East of England, South East and London, has worked with The Makaton Charity to make sure customers with specialist and complex communication needs can access the helpful information. Designed to be used alongside spoken language, Makaton involves the use of signs and symbols to aid those with communication difficulties.

The industry-leading project has resulted in two videos featuring Mike Harris from The Makaton Charity speaking and signing, and Matt Hunter from Halstead in Essex with his support person Jane Springett.

The first video explains how customers with additional communication, access or safety needs can sign up for UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register, to receive additional help and support if they ever have a power cut.

Kerry Potter, UK Power Networks’ consumer vulnerability manager, said: “We are proud to be providing resources for people with complex communication needs, making sure they have equal access to our services and feel truly included.

“We want to lead the way in providing a fairer and more inclusive system for all our customers and these videos are part of that work. Our employees are mindful of individual differences and needs, and we are always looking for new and effective ways to cater for them.”

Mike Harris, said; “By embarking on a programme of ensuring they are communicating with all their service user groups, UK Power Networks is clearly demonstrating they are proactively mindful of individual difference and needs and are working to cater for these. By using Makaton with those with communication challenges, they will enable the principles of true inclusion and clearly show they value and respect these people as they do others that use their services.”

Matt is supported by TLC Care, which specialises in supporting people with learning disabilities and complex needs in Essex and surrounding counties, both in their own homes and in residential accommodation.

TLC Care’s director of operations Alan Betts said: “Matt was excited to have been chosen to appear in this video, which we will feel will be extremely useful for organisations in the care sector and we commend UK Power Networks’ initiative in using Makaton to make this information available.”

Both videos were produced by Mosaic Publicity and are available on the electricity company’s YouTube channel   https://bit.ly/2TgPmEM. In addition to Makaton, UK Power Networks has other inclusive resources such as BSL, Braille, EasyRead, audio and it provides information in the top 14 non-English languages. The company has won multiple awards for customer care and has just been re-certified by BSI for inclusive service provision.