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Watt a Community! Northern Powergrid helps Middlesborough pupils raise awareness of vulnerable people

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Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for delivering power to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is helping year nine and ten pupils from Unity City Academy in Middlesbrough create their own community event to reach out to and raise awareness of vulnerable people in the area they live.

Northern Powergrid has partnered with social enterprise Ahead Partnership to deliver Watt a Community!, a brand new project, which will promote the electricity distributors Priority Service Register and encourage more vulnerable people to support each other during a power cut.

Pupils from Unity City Academy were tasked with designing a community event which would see a minimum of 50 vulnerable people attending from the local community and include 8 to 10 stall holders from a range of community groups, support services and charities. 

To encourage the pupils to think about what vulnerability is and who may be vulnerable in their local community, Northern Powergrid hosted a workshop at the school to help the young people come up with an innovative event that would make a real difference to the local community.

The pupils then pitched their events ideas, which focused on raising awareness of Northern Powergrid's Priority Service Register, to a 'Dragon’s Den' style panel of judges made up of Northern Powergrid employees.

Siobhan Barton, Northern Powergrid's head of stakeholder relation's said: "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. The workshop and competition has allowed the children to think about their local community and how people within that community could quickly become vulnerable if the lights go out. The winning event, stood out from the rest with its creative theme - 1960's flower power - with students creating a range of activities and entertainment for attendees.

Charlotte Pywell, aspirant assistant vice principal at Unity City Academy, said: “The Northern Powergrid 'Watt a Community!' challenge is an amazing opportunity for our students to engage with their community and show that young people really care. The students have worked incredibly hard and are learning practical skills which they will be able to use in future work.”

Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s chief executive, said: “This challenge is giving young people the opportunity to reach out to vulnerable people in their local community as well as helping them develop key employability skills that are essential for the world of work such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving and resilience. We’re delighted to be working with Northern Powergrid on another exciting enterprise challenge to give students better insight into Northern Powergrid as an employer, the skills they need for careers in this sector and to learn more about how they support their customers.”

The winning group of pupils have been given £1,000 funding from Northern Powergrid to make bring their community event to life.

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