Life-saving campaign wins national award

Release Date: 19-Sep-2008
A campaigning group led by staff from KNH has received national recognition by winning a major award – for the second year running.
Stacey Rodgers, Paul Goodwin (KNH) and award host Michael McIntyre

Stacey Rodgers, Paul Goodwin (KNH) and award host Michael McIntyre

The Kirklees Carbon Monoxide Awareness Group (KCOAG) won the award for ‘best gas safety initiative’ at the annual CORGI awards, which recognise those who have made a significant contribution to gas safety.

This year’s awards – the Oscars of the gas industry – were held at a glittering ceremony at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry on 11 September, hosted by comedian Michael MacIntyre.

Paul Goodwin, a gas surveyor for Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, accepted the award on behalf of KCOAG.
Stacey Rodgers, who lost her son Dominic to carbon monoxide poisoning four years ago, is also a member of KCOAG. She said: “Since I lost my Dominic, I’ve been working to raise awareness about the dangers of this deadly gas.

“The group has done so much to help spread the message about CO and how to prevent it, and it’s really great 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.

The group is made up of Stacey and staff from Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), Sadeh Lok Housing Association and PH Jones. CORGI representatives provide technical expertise and Northern Gas Networks and Kirklees Council have also provided valuable support for the campaign.

Explaining KNH’s role in the group, Noel Chambers, KNH's Director of Investment, 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.

“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 a major bus advertising campaign, several community events, and working with people in other parts of the country on carbon monoxide awareness.

This year, they have raised nearly £40,000 to help fund another regional awareness campaign, sponsor a programme aimed at primary school children, and develop a campaign toolkit that will be freely available to other organizations interested in carbon monoxide awareness-raising.

Because of the group’s success, they were visited last year by the Health & Safety Minister, Lord McKenzie, who came to see what lessons could be learned by other organizations.
Most importantly, at least one life has been saved because of the campaign.

Martin Garbutt, CORGI Business Support Manager and member of KCOAG, said: “Kirklees have done an amazing amount to raise the awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and I am proud to be part of 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, as can using an audible carbon monoxide alarm.”

Councillor Liz Smaje, Kirklees Council’s lead member for housing, said:

“The success of the Kirklees Carbon Monoxide Campaign 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.”