As part of our Keeping Us Connected campaign, Utility Week is showcasing some of the vital work the sector is doing to fuel the country’s fight against coronavirus. Here we take a look at the work British Gas engineers are undertaking on behalf of food banks up and down the UK.
Only weeks into the coronavirus pandemic and already thousands of British Gas engineers have answered the call and are helping deliver 50,000 food parcels a month on behalf of foodbank charity Trussell Trust.
The charity supports a network of more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK. Many of these food banks have had to change the way they operate to ensure people who need help can receive it safely as the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds.
A particular issue for the trust is that many of its volunteers are elderly and are therefore self-isolating. In addition, lockdown measures mean delivering food is now the safest way for those in need to receive it.
Andrea Barratt, director of responsible business, told Utility Week that out of 6,000 engineers, half have signed up to volunteer for the trust.
“We have nearly 6,000 British Gas engineers and a lot of them are not has busy as they would normally be. That’s really where the idea for the Trussell Trust partnership began,” she said.
In Scotland, Scottish Gas engineers have helped keep the Hamilton Foodbank afloat.
Last month the foodbank had no option but to close following a shortage of donations and low volunteer numbers.
However, Hamilton-based Chris Emmerson and his colleagues, Karim Awadia, Paul McNally, Julie Dickson and Kenny McNally quickly gathered more than £500 worth of food donations to help support vulnerable families and the elderly in the community.
The team have volunteered their time and vehicles to pick up donations from doorsteps and deliver food parcels to those who need it most across the Hamilton area.
Chris, a customer manager for Scottish Gas, said: “When we heard the news that the food bank was closing its doors, we knew we had to do something. Over the course of five hours we’d collected £500 worth of food from across the local area.
“The staff at the foodbank were incredibly grateful for any donations during these times and the least we can do is offer our delivery services. It’s made us all think a lot about others less fortunate than ourselves.”
A spokesperson for the Hamilton Foodbank said the centre was so grateful for the support the engineers selflessly gave them and for the numerous donations they continue to collect and deliver to those most in need.
Keeping Us Connected is a new series from Utility Week in which we highlight the achievements of employees across the utilities sector in getting the UK through lockdown. To nominate a member of your team for recognition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.