Children from Percy Hedley Foundation draw experience from Northern Gas Networks

Percey Hedley Foundation and Northern Gas Networks_1

Workers at Northern Gas Network’s (NGN) Customer Contact Centre in Doxford Park, Sunderland, have partnered with the Percy Hedley Foundation’s Employability Project to help inspire a group of disabled children to express their artistic flair and learn more about the gas industry.

As the region’s leading disability charity the Percy Hedley Foundation provides a wide range of services to disabled children, young people and adults and their families.  The Employability Project works across the region to develop employability opportunities for disabled people and break down the barriers that employers envisage exist to employing disabled people. 

Northern Gas Networks team leader, Jade Wardle from Castletown, Sunderland visited the Foundation and explained how gas is delivered to homes all across the region. The children were also shown various pieces of equipment and were able to try on specialist safety clothing used by the company’s engineers.

The visit also helped to solve the problem of what to put on the freshly painted wall within the company’s newly refurbished training room.

Jade said: “We were looking for inspiration for our new training facility.  Our visit to the school revealed that the children particularly liked art and painting so we’ve decorated our new training room with a huge mural that the children helped us to paint.”

The company’s artist in residence, Mick Hand, designed the 8ft long ‘paint by numbers’ mural which shows various aspects of Northern Gas Network’s work including excavations, gas holders and company vehicles. 15 children helped to complete the painting over three days.

Christine Shanks, the Foundation’s Employability Project Manager was delighted with both the mural and the opportunities Northern Gas Networks is giving to disabled people.  She commented:

“I feel that this is the start of a great relationship, both organisations have lots to offer one another.  We are already talking about work placements and possible apprenticeship placements that will give fantastic opportunities to those students who may not always get chance to benefit from experiences such as this.

“I can speak for the whole Foundation and say a big thank you as we have all thoroughly enjoyed our time with Northern Gas Networks and are proud that our artwork will be on display for many years to come.”

Anyone who smells gas should call the gas emergency service on 0800 111 999.