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Power of giving during COVID-19

Electricity workers at UK Power Networks have swapped their usual bake sales and dress down days for creative ways to raise thousands of pounds for charities during COVID-19.

From Press releases - 21 May 2020 12:00 AM

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Since the coronavirus outbreak brought a halt to many fundraising events, employees at Britain’s biggest electricity distributor have come up with ingenious ways to raise nearly £9,000 for charities at a difficult time. An online art contest, a speed skipping competition and a live-streamed musical performance, among other events, have boosted charity funds.

Head of employee engagement, Alex Sturge, said: “Community matters to UK Power Networks employees so it was an easy decision to redirect our charitable efforts to support key workers through COVID-19. Our community involvement is currently focused on supporting the front line in the fight against COVID-19 and our employees have really embraced it. Whether it’s giving part of their salary to charities fighting COVID-19, donating their time to supporting vulnerable customers or nominating which NHS trusts they’d like us to support, the take-up has been fantastic and it shows our support to other key workers at this challenging time.”

A team of electricity linesmen and women based in Polegate, East Sussex raised over £1,000 for NHS Charities Together through an online appeal with their colleagues. Linesman, Chris Allen, said: “We’re very fortunate to still have our health and our jobs, working on the power lines. We’re in a position to support frontline NHS professionals who are working flat out to help the nation and we want to show our gratitude.”

In North Walsham, Norfolk, staff raised £850 by collecting their standby meal allowances for the special care baby unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Spencer Smith, supervisor, said: “Seeing in the news how difficult it has been for our NHS we wanted to help. We are being paid so decided to donate some of our standby meal allowances to a charity within the NHS.”

An art competition for employees’ families celebrating the country’s key workers raised £288 for Parkinson’s UK. Isobel Elsey, aged six, from Ipswich, was among the winners for her picture of a superhero nurse, in the competition which featured doctors, police and firefighters.

Skipping queen, Liz Nicolaou, a connections programme manager from Potters Bar, showed it was anything but ‘money for old rope’, completing a staggering 163 skips in one minute to win an online charity challenge for employees. Staff paid a few pounds to enter their videos, raising £288 for Scope. Here’s Liz in action: https://youtu.be/IiRVZwkg_tQ

In Hornchurch, electrical fitter and semi-professional singer, Sammy-Jo Evans, raised £500 at the weekend for Saint Francis Hospice by live streaming her performance of country music. Here’s Sammy-Jo in action https://www.facebook.com/sammyjocountry/

Clair Hunt’s 73-mile lockdown charity challenge in Crawley, West Sussex, raised £1,300 for St Catherine’s Hospice. The management accountant completed most of the miles without even leaving home.

Staff asked the company for ways to support the inspiring work of the NHS and through ‘Give As You Earn’ since April they have donated over £2,100 to charities through the scheme. NHS charities in London, the South East and East of England have also received £1,500 via a weekly prize draw for employees to nominate their NHS trusts for a £100 donation.

Staff recognised through the company’s employee recognition scheme have also donated more than £1,000 of their cash rewards to their chosen charities since the pandemic began.

This week employees are raising money for the mental health charity, Mind, during Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18-24) by sharing acts of kindness. UK Power Networks has over 300 Mental Health First Aiders active in the organisation and recently rolled out mental health e-learning to hundreds of managers designed to help them support colleagues through these challenging times and beyond. Andrew Pace, director of HR at UK Power Networks, said: “Staff welfare is a top priority for us and during these worrying times we are making sure there is plenty of support in the workplace. We run an ongoing campaign to promote mental health, boost energy levels and develop trusted support networks people can contact if they need help.”