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Power workers lend a hand

A church has been transformed thanks to the efforts of an energetic team of power company workers.

From Press releases - 30 September 2014 12:00 AM

Church 1.jpg

A church has been transformed thanks to the efforts of an energetic team of power company workers.

The volunteers from electricity distributor UK Power Networks achieved so much in one day the parish priest was astonished.

Canon Luke Smith, of St Francis RC Church in Maidstone, said: “When I learned what they intended to do I thought they had bitten off more than they could chew but they were a whirlwind. I was absolutely astounded and of course delighted by the results. The church looks really lovely.”

Eighteen colleagues from the power company’s South East major connections team, based in Maidstone, cleared the grounds, including overgrown pathways and ivy-clad walls, jetwashed the car park, replaced a 25m section of fencing, cleared an area for children’s chapel and did the gardening.

On top of that, they painted the kitchen, vestry, basement, staircases and metalwork.

UK Power Networks project manager Jan Smolinski organised the effort as part of the company’s community volunteering scheme, which allows employees to spend two working days a year helping projects of their choice.

Jan, who has been attending St Francis for several years, said: “We worked like crazy. We originally thought there were going to be four teams so the workload was designed for 40 people  - and we did it with fewer than half that number. The people at church couldn’t believe it.

“I’m friends with one of the priests, Father Peter Kucharski, and he likes to get things done but in the church there’s always the problem of lack of funds. I said we could help using our community days – and I was very pleased with how successful it was. I was knackered by the end of it.”

UK Power Networks gives staff two paid days a year to get involved in voluntary work across London, the South East and East of England, the three regions where it owns, maintains and operates the electricity network for 8.1 million homes and businesses.

Employees have already spent more than 2,200 hours this year volunteering with local charities, community and conservation groups.