Supporting communities in South Wales

Posted on: 27/03/2021

As well as keeping the gas flowing and responding to gas emergencies, our colleagues have been helping friends, family and their local communities through the pandemic.

Meet some of our team in South Wales.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith works in the Legal Team at Wales & West Utilities. At the beginning of lockdown, she decided to lend her support to fellow residents of Brynhyfryd Street in Clydach Vale. She distributed notes through the doors of neighbours urging them to come forward if they needed help.

Sam explains:

“My street has many people living on it, and many are elderly. I hated the thought of them feeling even more isolated during lockdown and was keen to help out in any way I could.”

Sam quickly printed off some forms for people to complete, highlighting what they needed help with, and she has been regularly assisting seven neighbours, helping them around her full-time job at the gas emergency and pipeline service.

She added:

“I have been helping with prescriptions, walking dogs, and picking up shopping. My neighbours are all so appreciative, and I am only too happy to help.

“I know how hard it has been for people throughout the pandemic – some don’t have family nearby so when I offered my help and support, they were delighted.”

Adam Owens

Adam Owens has been working throughout the pandemic to make sure the gas network is safe and secure, and people are kept warm in their own homes.

Adam, a Team Leader at Wales & West Utilities, is part of the team carrying out essential work: looking after the pipes that keep gas flowing to homes and businesses.

He explains how his job as a keyworker is essential:

“We’re committed to delivering outstanding levels of gas safety and reliability. This has been even more important during the pandemic when people have been at home more than ever before. Engineers have been working round the clock to keep the gas flowing safely to keep people safe and warm.

“And essential work to upgrade the gas network continues: keeping the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of most people. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, I am pleased to have been able to play a small part to support the local community during the pandemic.”

Laura O'Donnell

Laura O’Donnell is part of our Despatch team, scheduling work for Emergency Gas Engineers who keep families and communities gas safe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Laura explains the changes brought on by lockdown. She said:

“In the weeks leading up to the Lockdown we were quick to change the way of working for the 40 people who are in the team. We work shifts and are usually all together in a single room at our headquarters in Celtic Springs, just outside Newport.

“However, we split our team into two bubbles – with one moving to work from our back up Despatch office in Treforest.

“Some colleagues, who were vulnerable or had family isolating, worked from home but on the whole, due to the systems we use to support the Gas Emergency Service, we have had to continue to work from the office.

"It was vital that our service remained seamless. After all, we help the engineers who work out in the field and their work – responding to gas leaks and emergencies – is essential to keep local communities safe.  

“Although we’ve been working from the office, social distancing rules have been strictly enforced and we’ve been sitting apart. I can’t wait until the time we’re all back together: supporting each other professionally and personally too.”