The north of England’s gas distributer, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), welcomed a class of primary school visitors to its historic gas holder site at Howdon on Wednesday, 15 June.
Thirty Year 5 pupils from Denbigh Community Primary School spent the afternoon learning about safety and the importance of preventing accidents, as part of their Child Safety Week studies.
NGN Major Projects Team Lead Mark Johnson gave the children and two teachers a tour of the site, where two gas holder tanks are in the process of being safely dismantled over 32 weeks.
The children watched a short presentation on the history of gas holders, learning why the iconic structures are the shape they are, what they were used for, why they are now being taken down and how NGN and demolition partners O’Brien Group are carrying out this work. A question and answer session was then held to give the youngsters a chance to find out more about the project.
The £680,000 scheme is registered as a Considerate Constructor Scheme site, and as part of the Scheme’s pledges, NGN’s Customer Care team visit local schools and charities to explore ways of making a difference to the lives of people living where engineers are working.
Customer Care officers delivered a Play Safe, Stay Safe assembly at Denbigh Community Primary School earlier this year, and NGN artist in residence Mick Hand held an art workshop at the school where children were invited to commemorate the gas holders through the creation of a giant mural. The artwork is now displayed at the school and at the gas holder site.
Last Wednesday’s visit to see the gas holders was a chance for the children to observe the huge structures up close, and following the presentation the children took a supervised walk around one of the two holders, wearing PPE clothing and hard hats. They also got to meet Ivor Goodsite, the Considerate Constructor Scheme safety mascot.
Year 5 teacher at Denbigh Community Primary School Lynn Stephenson said: “The chance to collaborate with NGN has been a great way for the children to engage with a project within their local area and one that has an impact where they live. They greatly enjoyed learning about the history of the site and are eager for a repeat visit to see the project in its latter stages.”
NGN Major Projects Team Lead Mark Johnson said: “It was great to see the children show such enthusiasm and willingness to learn more about the site. You could see they were genuinely interested in how the holders worked and what they were used for.
“In the Q&A session their questions were very impressive and of a level beyond their years which showed they understood the mechanics of the holders. It was a real pleasure to spend the afternoon with them, so much so that we’ve invited them to come back at the point when they holders are part-dismantled.”
NGN is encouraging people to share their memories of the Howdon gas holders through its ‘Gas Holder Memories’ campaign by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, using #gasholdermemories on Facebook and Twitter, or in writing to: Northern Gas Networks, 1st Floor, 1 Emperor Way, Doxford International Business Park, Sunderland, SR3 3XR.
For further information about the Howdon gas holder project please contact NGN’s Customer Care team on 0800 040 7766, option 7 or email email@example.com
Anyone that smells gas or suspects Carbon Monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.