Our Keeping Us Connected campaign is showcasing how the utilities sector is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Here we take a look at how Scottish Power Energy Networks is supporting some of its most vulnerable customers, as well as keeping young children occupied during lockdown.

A new electric van funded by Scottish Power Energy Networks’ (SPEN) Green Economy Fund is delivering vital suppliers to remote communities in self-isolation.

The scheme funded £61,000 towards the vehicle and charge points and deliveries are being led by local resident, Ken Owen, who volunteers as a delivery driver for the Ettrick and Yarrow Community Development Company.

Selkirk, 26 miles away from the furthest isolating households, is the nearest town and supermarket delivery slots have been hard to come by.

Owen delivers fresh meat from a Selkirk butcher on Wednesdays and fresh bakery produce and fruit and vegetables on Thursdays. He has also been dropping off essential prescriptions and doing a supermarket run for other necessities on a Saturday.

More than 200 miles per week is being clocked up by the electric delivery service, providing a lifeline to elderly residents self-isolating in the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys. Local coordinators organised by the community council collate the orders which are then passed on to the Selkirk shops and suppliers, with around 150 orders being placed each week.

Owen said: “This has been a really tough time for older people living in the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys. Living in isolation is hard enough without the challenge of getting vital groceries and prescriptions. I’m happy to be playing my part by volunteering to make these deliveries.”

Vicky Davidson of the Ettrick and Yarrow Community Development Company said: “It’s incredible how local businesses and people across the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys have worked together to get this support in place so quickly.  People like Ken and the local community council are our community heroes.”

Ian Johnston, district general manager, Edinburgh and Borders, at SP Energy Networks, said: “People across the country are doing extraordinary things to help the most vulnerable in their area during the coronavirus outbreak. We’re proud to support the local community in the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys and will be continuing to do what we can to assist the outstanding work of its volunteers in the local area.”

In addition, SPEN has launched a website to support children’s learning from home during the lockdown. The PowerWise website aims to raise awareness of power safety among families with children and young people.

PowerWise provides an understanding of how electricity is generated, distributed and how to stay safe around it. The lesson ideas are fully interactive and engaging with different activities for children in their early years, primary school and secondary school. The activities and challenges are also all linked to the national curriculum.

Children can choose between taking on a safety, environment or science mission where through different types of tasks they can learn more about safety, biodiversity, fuelling the future, and the science behind electricity.

Craig Arthur, director at SP Energy Networks, said: “We know parents are looking for ways to inspire their kids and keep them busy for hours on end, so we’re making resources available online to help keep bright sparks entertained with fun, hands-on activities that can be done at home. We’ve also included interactive mini-missions specifically designed for kids that explain complicated science and technology in a really simple and fun way.”

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 jameswallin@fav-house.com.