Sunday, September 19, 2021

Utility companies invited to help change young lives

Utility companies across the UK are being invited to pool their expertise and join a pioneering project aimed at improving the lives of children and their communities in a remote area of Kenya.

Derby-based Develop Training, providers of compliance, technical, and safety training for the utilities sector, has teamed up with Derby County Community Trust (DCCT) for the Rams in Kenya project.

DCCT annually bring together an army of volunteers to undertake life-changing projects in impoverished areas around Nakuru and the next trip has been confirmed for May 2022.

The annual visit to Nakuru sees volunteers of all ages support five partner schools with projects ranging from building classrooms to supporting teacher development.

The next trip will be the first time that individuals with specific utilities’ expertise have been involved.

The plan is to complete a sustainable project that will provide clean water and sanitation as well as train local people to maintain and sustain the equipment and systems independently for decades to come.

Develop Training Managing Director, John Kerr, explained: “As far as we know, this will be the first time that companies across the UK utility sector have come together for such an ambitious international project.

“By pooling expertise, we aim to complete a sustainable project that will make a real and sustainable difference to the whole local community in Nakuru.

“As well as designing and installing the equipment, we aim to provide a lasting legacy by ensuring that local people are fully trained in maintenance and repairs so that they do not have to totally rely on return visits and future support.”

Mr Kerr continued: “Some schools in this part of Kenya have thousands of pupils and only a handful of toilets and no sewage systems.

“This has a profound effect on all the children, teachers and the wider community but particularly on the older girls who, because of lack of facilities and no sanitary support, miss out on at least a week of school every month.”

Paul Newman, DCCT Community Manager, continued: “The Rams in Kenya project is always amazing. The joy that it brings to our volunteers, as well as the children and teachers out there, is indescribable.

“Having not been able to return to the area for the past two years, we are looking forward to making the May 2022 project even more impactful.

“We have always been keen to add professionals from the construction industry, as well as those with medical and teaching experience, to complement our pool of enthusiastic volunteers.

“The input from Develop Training and the UK utility sector will hopefully ensure that we can achieve a key objective to bring life-changing clean water and sanitation to the local community.

“Such an undertaking obviously needs to be led by industry experts who will be supported by our volunteers who join us with a host of skills and enthusiasm and who all discover the role they are best suited for during the trip.”

The first company to sign up to the project is Northern Gas Networks. Training manager Chris Adair explained: “NGN are committed to providing opportunities for those less fortunate as part of our CSR policy.

“We are fully supportive of this project and are proud to be the first utility company to sign up and commit our support with people, training and resources.

“As a company, we are funding three places for colleagues on our apprenticeship programme to take part. We feel it will provide them with the adventure of a lifetime as well as a real opportunity to change lives for the better and, above all, play a part in something amazing.

“We would love other companies in the sector to join us to make a positive and life- changing impact for these children and their communities.

“Companies can either sponsor employees to take part or encourage individuals to fund raise the cost of their involvement.

“This covers the cost of travel, accommodation and goes towards the materials that will be required to make this project a reality.”

Any company or individual interested is invited to attend an in-person information event at Derby County Football Club, Pride Park, Derby, on Thursday September 16 (7pm to 8.30pm) with further virtual briefing sessions planned moving forwards.

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