National recognition for Kirklees safety group

Release Date: 01-Dec-2010
A pioneering safety group led by staff from KNH has received national recognition by winning a major award – their third in four years.
Chris Bielby (GISG Chair), John Wybrew (member of the Gas and Electricity Market Authority and one of the judges), Angela Love, GISG Vice Chair, Penny Allison (KNH) and Stacey Rodgers (Dominic Rodgers

Chris Bielby (GISG Chair), John Wybrew (member of the Gas and Electricity Market Authority and one of the judges), Angela Love, GISG Vice Chair, Penny Allison (KNH) and Stacey Rodgers (Dominic Rodgers

The Kirklees Carbon Monoxide Awareness Group (KCOAG) won the award for ‘partnerships in safety’ at the Gas Industry Safety Group ‘Decade of Excellence’ awards, which recognised those who have made significant contributions to gas safety.

The group is an informal partnership made up of the Dominic Rodgers Trust and staff from KNH as well as Northern Gas Networks, Sadeh Lok Housing Association, the Anchor Trust, Enterprise plc, Eaga Heat and Morgan Lambert.

To win the award, they beat off stiff competition from national companies like British Gas, impressing the judges with how much they had achieved in such a short time and with relatively little money, all of which they raised through grant applications and corporate donations.

Penny Allison, Communications Manager for Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) and chair of the group, accepted the award on behalf of KCOAG, along with campaigner Stacey Rodgers, at a ceremony in London on 22 November.

Stacey, who lost her son Dominic to carbon monoxide poisoning six years ago, also won an award for ‘individual contribution to gas safety.’

Stacey said: “Since I lost Dominic, I’ve been working to raise awareness about the dangers of this deadly gas.

“Joining forces with KCOAG has been great – the group has done so much to help spread the message about CO and how to prevent it, and it’s fantastic that our hard work has been recognized.

“We’ve got even more planned for the next 12 months and I’m hopeful that we can help make sure Kirklees doesn’t have any more victims.”

KCOAG formed in 2006 to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and to encourage people to have their appliances regularly serviced.

Explaining KNH’s role in the group, Chief Executive Simon Rogers, said: “increasingly, our estates are mixed communities of owners and social renters, often living next door to each other in flats, terraced or semi-detached properties. Therefore spending time and effort promoting gas safety across the wider community is part of our core business. We believe that promoting gas safety to everyone is a key part of KNH's role, but we’re also constantly reviewing our own systems to make sure we’re doing all that we can to safeguard our customers.”

“You don't grieve any more or less for CO victims like Dominic Rodgers because they are tenants or owners. We want to make sure our organisation is doing its bit to help make sure no one else has to go through what Stacey and her family did.”

KCOAG is the only group of its kind to be doing this kind of work, which so far has included two major bus advertising campaigns, dozens of community events, an education programme for primary school children, and most recently, a ‘recipe for safety’ campaign aimed at students, all of which has been made possible by grants and sponsorship.

Crucially, at least one life has been saved because of the campaigns.

John O’Grady, from Northern Gas Networks, has been a major sponsor of the group’s work said: “Kirklees have done an amazing amount to raise the awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and we are proud to be able to support the group.

“You cannot be complacent but simple steps such as having regular safety checks on all gas, oil, wood burning cookers, stoves and fires can help save lives, as can using an audible carbon monoxide alarm.”

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Kirklees Council’s cabinet member for housing, said:

“The success of this group proves how much can be achieved when people from different organisations work together on a common cause.

“It’s an excellent example of partnership working and the team is to be congratulated for their achievements.”

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