By October 2, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

A force for good in the electrical industries

EW_Awards_2014_145The Electrical Industries Charity (formerly the EEIBA) is an energising force in the industry. EW editor, Debbie Eales, asked the charity’s Operations Manager, Jill Nadolski (left), to explain the charity’s work, what you can do to offer support and what goes on behind the scenes. 

Q. What is the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) and how long has it been around? 

A. The EIC is the national charity for the electrical, electronics and energy industries. The Charity has a long association with the industries dating back to 1905 when the Electrical Trades Benevolent Institution was set up by ten leaders of the emerging electrical industry who felt a duty to help those in the industry should “accident, infirmity, misfortune or old age, limit their activities or curtail their means”. In 1967, the year the Beatles released Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Charity changed its name to EEIBA – Electrical and Electronics Industries Benevolent Association.

Q. Why the rebrand earlier this year?

A. Market research conducted in 2012 showed that the old EEIBA name and visual image did little to convey the Charity’s purpose. We needed something that people would understand instantly and an image that says we are an energising force that connects with people. The new name and logo were approved at the Charity’s AGM in October 2013 and the new brand was launched on January 31, 2014.

Q. Who does the Charity help?

A. We look after all people from the electrical, electronics and energy industries whenever they or their families need help with life’s challenges, whether big or small, at every stage of their lives.

Our charitable services are available to anyone who currently works or has worked in the very diverse and often converging industries, such as:

  • Electrical contracting and facilities management
  • Electrical and electronic manufacturing, wholesale, distribution and retail
  • Electrical and mechanical engineering
  • Lighting industry
  • Generation, distribution and supply of electrical power, including nuclear and renewable energy

Q. What kind of problems do people come to you with?

A. People come to us with a variety of problems, for example:

  • Family or relationship problems
  • Financial or legal worries
  • Emotional or mental health problems
  • Ill health or disability

Most people who currently seek our help are of working age, but many are not working due to illness, injury, redundancy or caring for a sick or disabled child, partner or parent.

During the recession we saw a steady rise in calls regarding debt and financial problems.

Q. How can you help them?

A. We encourage anyone with a problem to call our Confidential Helpline0800 652 1618. Our Advisors can provide practical advice, support and information.

Our Advisors assess each caller’s needs and if needed, assign them to one of our Caseworkers, or sign-post them to another charity or agency if the problem falls outside our expertise.

Q. You’re a year into your new strategic plan, Going from Good to Great. What have you achieved?

A. The rebrand was the first part of the wider strategic plan to build our position at the heart of helping the industries support their own people.

One of our key objectives is to increase the number of people accessing our services. The number of calls to our Confidential Helpline increased in the last year, and we are looking to build that number year on year. As a result our direct financial assistance has increased by 30%.

Q. What are your aims for the coming year?

A. What we find time and again is that the majority of people working in the industry are unaware that there is a charity they can turn to when they need support in challenging times. So another of our strategic objectives is to increase awareness amongst working people. So this month we are launching the Employee & Family Support Programme.

We have extended the hours of our Confidential Helpline to evenings and weekends so that people who work can call at times that are more convenient for them. We have also extended the range of free services: debt advice, telephone counselling, telephone legal advice, financial assistance, support for carers and career advice.

Our main aim for the coming year is to reach out to as many businesses as possible to sign up to this programme. We already have two major electrical wholesalers signed up to the programme and are currently working with them to roll it out to their employees.

Research shows that companies that look after the wellbeing of their employees see a return in greater commitment and higher productivity. By joining the Employee & Family Support Programme, they are helping their staff as well as their Charity. And all our services are free.

Q. How can the industry support you?

A. There are many ways for the industry to support their Charity.

  • Enrol their business in our Employee & Family Support Programme
  • Do something amazing to raise funds – run a marathon, organise a team challenge
  • Become part of the network – volunteer with one of our Regional Committees or attend a regional event
  • Promote our monthly powerLottery in the workplace – first prize is £1,000
  • Buy a table at powerBall – the biggest and best industry party of the year

Q. Tell us about this year’s powerBall

A. This year promises to be Off the Wall. We are excited to have the cast of Thriller Live! as our headline entertainment. We also have the best party band on the circuit – The Earthlights Boogie Band – guaranteed to get everyone onto the dance floor.

Powerball is without a doubt the biggest electrical industry fundraising party of the year and all proceeds from the event will go towards our charitable activities. Tickets are selling fast and only a few tables remain for sale. www.powerball2014.com

Q. What’s new? We hear that you are putting together an events team.

A. Yes, we are currently recruiting an Events Manager and an Administrator to revamp all our events and create some new and exciting ones. This team will work closely with our Regional Committees who are all volunteers, supporting their regional events to maximise their fundraising and awareness raising potential.

Q. Are there any specific projects that you are raising funds for?

A. We frequently raise funds on behalf of individuals when the request is above our maximum threshold of £5,000. Here’s an example.

George’s father approached us to help fund a custom-made SnapDragon Powerchair. George has complex neurological and medical problems and this chair would replace several pieces of equipment and allow him to interact and enjoy stimulation. However, the cost of the SnapDragon was in excess of £20,000 and seemed like a distant dream to George’s parents.

We approached other charities on their behalf and were able to secure all the funding so George finally got his Dragon. His quality of life has improved immeasurably.

Q. People are often too proud to ask for help. What would you say to them?

A. Very often, the strong principles of people working in our industry will get in the way of seeking help. They feel they shouldn’t ask for it. However, in most cases there is support available if they only knew about it or how to access it.

Our message is: please don’t wait until a problem becomes a crisis. Our Advisors and Caseworkers will not judge you and will treat you with respect and empathy. We are here to give a helping hand not a hand out. And you can be assured complete confidentiality.

Q. You have been in the post now for two years. Tell us about your day and what you enjoy about your job as the charity’s Operations Manager.

A. Every day is different. One day I’ll be attending an event, another I’ll be reviewing cases with the Charitable Services team, and another I’ll be brainstorming new ideas with the Fundraising team, or pouring over the management accounts. It’s not unusual that I’m doing all that on the same day.

What I enjoy most about my job is the people: our supporters, our volunteers, and the staff here. I don’t often get to meet the people we help, but knowing we’ve made a difference to someone’s life is the part of my job that I find most satisfying. 

Q. Your lottery is a fun way to support the charity. Tell us a little about how people can participate.

A. PowerLottery is our own monthly prize draw. It’s just £1 to enter, with four cash prizes every month and a top prize of £1000. You can also have multiple numbers which increases your chances of winning.

Anyone interested in joining can call the Confidential Helpline or email fundraising@electricalcharity.org and we will send a joining pack.

The Electrical Industries Charity Lottery is licensed by the Gambling Commission under the 2005 Gambling Act.

Q. Finally, is there anything else that those employed within the electrical wholesale industry can do to help?

A. We are recruiting eight company teams of four runners for the London Marathon. This is a fantastic once-only opportunity to help us celebrate our 110th birthday in 2015. For each team that commits to raising £6,000, we will provide a training information pack, a fundraising pack and a running vest for each team member. We will also award prizes for the team with the fastest combined time and the highest team fundraising total.

We think company teams are a great way to support the Charity, and a bit of competition between teams within the electrical wholesale industry will heighten the fun.

For information and an application pack, email Rolanda.reid@electricalcharity.org

EIC final awFACTFILE:

Confidential Helpline number: 0800 652 1618

Open Mon-Fri 8 am to 8 pm Sat-Sun 8 am to 1 pm

Website: www.electricalcharity.org

Facebook: facebook.com/electricalcharity

Twitter: @electriccharity