The partnership started in 2019 with National Grid Metering, supported by their local Waitrose, hosting a successful Christmas lunch in their Solihull office. It was attended by elderly residents of Solihull who clearly enjoyed the outing and the opportunity to share stories and partake in Christmas Carols. The relationship has grown from strength to strength since.
The lockdown of the Great Britain has seen National Grid Metering commit to an eight-week stint of supplying around £250 worth of food shopping weekly, again supported by Waitrose Solihull offering the volunteers critical worker shopping hours. National Grid Metering and AGE UK staff follow government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene when distributing to those most vulnerable.
AGE UK Solihull is using several local clubs and associations to help distribute their provisions to in excess of 500 people in and around the Solihull area which demonstrates a wonderful example of how communities can really pull together in times of crisis.
National Grid Metering staff have also been encouraging their children to send pictures and drawings to accompany the shopping, to lift morale of the elderly recipients, many of whom will be in full isolation and in some cases alone.
Some staff have also started to make welfare calls on behalf of AGE UK. These are touchpoint calls to make a quick enquiry on wellbeing and to identify whether the recipient has any immediate needs. The calls also offer a friendly voice at the start of the day. Altogether there are six staff currently vetted and approved by AGE UK to make these calls, with several new volunteers soon ready to join the team.
Lucy Garratt, Director of Services AGE UK Solihull said of the support from National Grid Metering:
“We could not have met or continue to meet the needs of older people without the support of our local communities and local business including the fantastic support we have received from National Grid. Chantelle Bogira has led the way for National Grid, with support from colleagues and Managers, and from the start has ensured we have enough of the right type of food and basic essentials to provide isolating older and vulnerable people”