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Worthing’s powerful new business connector

A Sussex executive is taking up a year-long secondment in Worthing under a national scheme using the energy and skills of business people to tackle local issues.

From Press releases - 18 July 2014 12:00 AM

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A Sussex executive is taking up a year-long secondment in Worthing under a national scheme using the energy and skills of business people to tackle local issues.

Victoria Patrick, a planning manager for UK Power Networks, based in Crawley, has been sponsored by her employer, which delivers Worthing’s electricity supplies, to spend the next year as a Business Connector building partnerships that can make a difference in the town.

The programme, backed by the Prince of Wales and Prime Minister David Cameron, is run by charity Business in the Community (BiTC). The scheme puts talented business people into communities of greatest need using their time, contacts and expertise to connect the needs of their local community with the resources of local businesses.

Victoria said: “I’m the first one to do this at UK Power Networks and it’s a huge commitment by my employer to pay my salary and pension while I use my skills in the community. I’m here to connect people together on projects that will help Worthing and I’m very excited about the role.

“My role is to help businesses and communities connect to enable them to have a sustainable relationship. I want to connect with community groups, housing associations, foster homes, youth hostels, charities and match them with businesses in their community.

“It’s a very challenging role but it will help me grow as a person and shows that my employer is prepared to be in the frontline in helping local businesses and communities.”

Victoria joins the ranks of more than 120 Business Connectors who work in England’s communities of greatest need. The 42-year old electricity planning manager will be working with community groups to promote skills, employment, engagement, training and volunteering. She is hoping to build on the achievements of Nicki Brown, from Lloyds Banking Group, who worked as Worthing’s Business Connector until last year.

Projects may include helping school leavers without qualifications or people with learning difficulties to connect with a company offering IT skills, CV-writing tips, work experience or apprenticeships.

Stephen Howard, Business in the Community’s chief executive, said: “Business Connectors is based on the proven impact of taking business resource, skills and time into the heart of communities where vital community services are under pressure to do more with less.

“Just two years into the programme, it is clear the powerful impact they are having - but there is still so much more to be done. We’re delighted that UK Power Networks is placing Victoria to work in this community. We hope other organisations are inspired by the leadership shown by UK Power Networks and our additional supporting businesses to also take a stand to build sustainable cohesive communities at this critical time. We look forward to working with Victoria and seeing the valuable connections we know she will make in Worthing.”

At UK Power Networks, Victoria plays a commanding role in the company’s response to severe weather, co-ordinating teams with storm roles.

“I have to be highly organised as I’m responsible for people’s roles, safety, environment and needs, which are all varied,” said Victoria, who will be putting these skills into action in Worthing.

UK Power Networks HR Director, Chris Degg, said “We are delighted to be able to support Business in the Community through Victoria’s 12 month secondment as a business connector for Worthing.  She is a very energetic and driven individual who will bring tremendous energy and an impressive set of skills to the role.  UK Power Networks sees this as a clear “win, win” for all concerned. 

“It is a great opportunity for Victoria to gain new skills and experience. She will benefit local businesses and communities through her contribution. Finally, UK Power Networks will gain through Victoria acquiring additional knowledge and expertise which she will be able to apply back at the workplace once she completes the secondment role.”