SSEN’s food bank donation scheme makes first deliveries in the South East

Image above shows SSEN Customer Contact Centre colleagues Liz Mills and Kerry Hopton, with just some of the goods donated that will be delivered to food banks in the South East. 

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) colleagues are working to provide extra support to the communities it serves in the South East by setting up a donation centre to supply local food banks and will make their first deliveries on Friday 29 January. 

The staff from SSEN’s Customer Contact Centre in Havant have previously organised charity events and fundraising activities - raising £10,000 in 2018 for The Samaritans and a further £10,000 in 2019 that was donated to local hospice, The Rowans – and are now calling on local individuals and organisations to join them in donating and delivering items to local foodbanks. 

The coronavirus pandemic temporarily halted the team’s charitable work for 2020, but through the many calls and social media enquiries they take from customers each day, they were aware of the impact the virus was having on families and vulnerable residents across the South East, and had reached out to communities to identify where help was most needed. In responding to the pandemic, SSEN had also established a new dedicated team to proactively contact and support individuals at risk of social isolation, as well as making £320,000 of funding available to support community-led initiatives. 

SSEN’s Customer Contact Centre Manager, Lorraine Barber explains: 

“Every year, SSEN’s Customer Contact Centre staff use their spare time to raise funds for charity and local causes, so during the pandemic we contacted our local communities to ask them where they felt our efforts would be of most use. 

“Through this, and relationships some of our staff already had with local organisations, we were able to identify foodbanks in Fareham, Havant, Portsmouth, Southsea and Waterlooville that were looking for donations, and from there we set to work collecting as much as we could.

“Last year, over half of the people who had used a food bank had never visited one before, and we wanted to make sure that we volunteered our time this year to address this increased need across the areas SSEN serves.”

To ensure safety during the pandemic - and to comply with social distancing and restrictions – a group of five key colleagues use enhanced Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and hygiene measures to enable them to collect and then deliver the completed donations, so minimum contact is made and donated goods can be collected on set days from outside homes and local businesses. 

Tracey Emery, SSEN’s Customer Service Manager said: 

“The goods needed by these local foodbanks are items many of us could add to our own weekly shop, such as toiletries, canned meats, canned vegetables and fruits, cleaning products and pet foods. 

“I’d ask anyone who thinks they can help to join us in supporting their local food bank. It can just be one extra item that you add to your basket, but with a group of people doing that, they can gather enough items to make a real difference to a more vulnerable family or member of the community.”

In addition to individual and team charity work carried out by SSEN employees in their spare time, SSEN encourages every employee to take a day away from their usual job and volunteer to help local charities and community projects of their choice. Since the launch of its ‘Be the Difference’ volunteering programme, it has helped over 2,500 projects, with SSEN employees dedicating their time to projects that matter in their local communities.