Housebound call centre colleagues raise charity cash from home

Key workers from United Utilities’s call centres in Warrington and Whitehaven are raising coronavirus cash to help beat the lockdown blues.

Charity challenges, which happened weekly before the lockdown, have now been resurrected by colleagues working on their own from home using apps like WhatsApp and Paypal.

And as an added extra, managers have agreed to boost whatever they raise by £500 a week for each of the two sites.

In Warrington, the first £500 cheque went to Warrington Foodbank, which also received extra food donated by staff themselves.

In Whitehaven, the first £500 went to Mirehouse Residents’ Group, which also got additional £90 raised by staff from a virtual ‘dress down’ event.

With the vast majority of staff working from home, the two call centres – one at Lingley Mere Business Park in Great Sankey, the other on North Shore Road in Whitehaven, Cumbria – are eerily quiet, with just a skeleton crew of people in the office keeping a wide distance from each other.

Whitehaven call centre manager Lyndsey Moffitt said: “It’s a bit strange but people are keeping in touch in other ways. We have always liked to do a bit of fund-raising, so we thought ‘why not keep it going?’ It’s good for team spirit and people like sharing photos and videos. It keeps us in touch until things get back to normal,” she said.

United Utilities call centres deal with thousands of customer queries and staff there are key workers, not least because they support customers through difficult times, offering payment breaks on their bills, or signposting them to one of the company’s many assistance schemes.

Customer services and people director Lou Beardmore said United Utilities was giving £500 of charity cash a week for each of the company’s two call centres in Whitehaven and Warrington.
Staff in both locations will choose a different local charity every week.

“Every week, we are keen to support local charities and causes important to our communities. Our call centre staff always do some great work to raise money and we wanted to keep that going. Now more than ever having some fun, supporting each other and supporting our charities and communities is critical and together we can make a massive difference,” she said.