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Bingley students and Northern Powergrid host 1940s vintage community fair

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Students from Beckfoot School in Bingley got their local community singing and dancing after winning Northern Powergrid's 'Watt a Community!' competition.

Northern Powergrid partnered with social enterprise Ahead Partnership to deliver 'Watt a Community!' a brand new competition to get students thinking about vulnerability within their local community. The year 9 and 10 students were asked to design and pitch an event which promotes the electricity distributor's Priority Services Register and encourage more vulnerable people to support each other during a power cut.

The young people pitched their events ideas to a 'Dragon’s Den' style panel of judges made up of Northern Powergrid employees, who chose the winning 1940s vintage theme.   

The winning event, held at Bingley Arts Centre, saw around 100 people from the local community, including the Lord Mayor of Bradford, entertained by a jazz band, singers and retro games whilst enjoying a vintage tea and learning about Northern Powergrid's free Priority Services Register.  The register provides extra support to anyone with a disability, medical condition or very young families, who may need greater assistance during a power cut.

Siobhan Barton, Northern Powergrid's head of stakeholder relations, said: "Watt a Community has been such a success – it's great to see so many people turn up from the local community and have both an informative and enjoyable afternoon. It's a credit to the great ideas and hard work of the winning pupils and staff at Beckfoot School. 

"For most people a power cut is rare, thanks to our investment in the power network, and will just be an inconvenience – but for someone who has a medical condition or equipment which relies on electricity, is disabled, elderly or has young children, it could have a greater impact. That's why spreading the word about our free Priority Services Register is so important and the students' event has certainly spread the word in Bingley."

Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s chief executive, said: ”This project has shown how effective social action projects can be in helping young people reach out to their local community. Not only have they hosted an excellent vintage event for older people in their neighbourhood, they have worked with mentors from Northern Powergrid to share valuable information about the Priority Services Register.

“The students brought thought and imagination to their ideas and their planning, teamwork and execution on the day was exemplary. Everyone attending signed up to the Register and will be encouraging friends and family to do so. The students should be congratulated on meeting their brief and creating a day that has left a real legacy within the community.”

Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Zafar Ali, said: “The pupils of Beckfoot School can be very proud of themselves for coming up with such a fantastic idea and the event was a big success. It will go a long way in encouraging the people of Bingley to look out for one another, and supporting those who are particularly vulnerable during power cuts.”

Charlotte Newham one of the winning students helped create the event: "The event has turned out really well. Loads of people have turned up and are learning about Northern Powergrid's Priority Services Register and having lots of fun at the same time. I've learned lots of skills like collaboration and independence because of my part in planning the event."

Janet Tansley, local resident aged 65, was one of those attending the community event: "It's been a lovely event with a really relaxing atmosphere. It's been well presented and very informative.  Well done to the Beckfoot students."

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