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BIG splash the

Your news and views about Northumbrian Water ISSUE 1 | November 2013

Charity matters Celebrating our fundraising successes

THE WINNING Roadshow Round-up All the NEWS and views TICKETS PAGES 04&05




25 Colleagues fly to hong kong


a day in the life of operator brian denham

Star-studded night! Meet your ViVa award-winning colleagues inside.

Sports and Social YOUR dedicated colleague pages PAGES 10&11

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? Tell us what you think – email

your editorial board

meet your paper shapers of the future PAGE 02

Heidi’s highlights I’m really pleased to be welcoming you to this first edition of The Big Splash! We wanted to create a new internal newspaper. Full of news and stories about you, and written by you, to share our business news and talk about the things you want to know more about, with a real people focus. Our new editorial board has come together, chosen the name, had some great ideas and worked really hard to bring this first edition together – thank you all for your hard work! We hope The Big Splash will complement our other channels of communication and help us to stay in touch, especially with those of you who are out in the field and who don’t have access to Cascade yet. We’re going to be producing The Big Splash every other month to alternate with Teamtalk. This way we have a way to talk to each other more regularly. As you can see, we’ve gone for a really different look and feel with great images and a real mix of news stories. We hope you want to pick it up and read it wherever you are – grabbing a sandwich in your van, sharing stories with friends, or relaxing at home! We’ve also thought about your feedback with regards to print; you can read your newspaper online via Cascade, pick up a copy from the newspaper bins in the communal areas, and those of you who are out and about will receive a personal copy. We hope this works for you and would welcome your feedback. I look forward to hearing your views! Have a good month.


4 OUR ROADSHOWS All the news, views and success stories


Brian Denham gives us a tour of his office

Updates on our Business Plan

Ps Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the new paper! BY POST: THE BIG SPLASH, INTERNAL POST BY EMAIL:


Adam Trussell Designer

Sarah Jane H arrison Graduate Trainee


Ashley Harrison Performance Analyst

Gemma Foster

Advisor Customer Collections r ine Tra y Wa and Our

Kevin Mackenzie

r Logistics Team Leade

arner Nick Ware Advisor mer C


Helen Stoker

Operations Supp ort Assistant

Charlotte Deac on

Contact Enquiry Team Advisor

Jill Martin

Karen Sandel l

HR Business Analyst

Corporate Responsibility Ad visor

Janine Scott

Communications Advisor

aine Spot Dw he pages and t t amongs tered into a be en Let us know aw. t prize dr ou find him a y e r e wh plash TheBigS c @nwl.

Celebrating our exceptional people

publication, and the ideas you’ve put forward to help shape the paper going forward. This is the just the first edition and we are looking to improve with every issue, so please get in touch and share your feedback and ideas!

Eleanor Willi s

waine? D ’s e r e Wh Pipe in



When we advertised for people to be on our newspaper’s Editorial Board earlier this year, we never expected to have such an amazing response! We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm so many of you showed towards having a new employee

Production Operator


Here are the people you can contact with all your questions and ideas for our new newspaper.

Mark Kitching

Heidi Mottram Chief Executive Officer


Meet your Editorial Board!

Suzy Tanrikul i Di stribution Suppor t Team Leader

Bob Edmonds

Production Operator

Driving down fuel inefficiency

Launched in May, our Drive Smart campaign is working to drive down fuel costs across the company.

We really encourage anyone who would like to get involved. If you’re a budding journalist, writer, photographer, or just have a good idea, please get in touch.

Drop your Editorial Board a line at

Most of you will be aware of our Drive Smart campaign, which aims to reduce fuel costs by being more fuel-efficient and seeking out cheaper fuel. From individuals driving to work to fleet drivers across the company, we can all do our bit to become more environmentally and economically aware. “We’ve done a number of things to help colleagues become more fuel-efficient drivers,” says Paul Saynor, Operations Manager. “We sent a booklet to our fleet drivers, full of hints and tips on how to save money on fuel. We then rolled it out across the whole company, as it can help everyone cut costs when they’re at work but also when they’re driving in their personal time.” In addition to this, Paul and his team supply a spreadsheet at the start of the week to each fleet team, mapping out where the cheapest fuel stations are located along their routes. “We started the Drive Smart Competition across our 27 operational fleets, as we thought it was a great

The experience of a lifetime 25 lucky colleagues are experiencing an exciting opportunity, as they meet our CKI colleagues in Hong Kong. By the time you read this, team-building event, where people representing CKI they will have jetted off to the other side of the world to companies from across the world will compete in fun activities. rub shoulders with our CKI colleagues and soak up the It’ll be great to build the CKI family spirit and also see Hong Kong culture. some of CKI’s impressive operations in Hong Kong. The opportunity arose when our parent company, Curtis Simpson, a Distribution Technician from Broken CKI, invited teams from each of their overseas companies Scar, says: “It’s going to be amazing. I’m really hoping to to travel to Hong Kong to meet fellow colleagues. learn more about CKI and the other businesses they have We decided to offer the trip to across the world.” “It’s going to be everyone nominated for a ViVa “We’ve been practising our team award over the past two years, challenges for the Family Day,” amazing. I’m really as they’ve shown they live up to Grant Gardiner, one of our hoping to learn more says our vision and values. Wastewater team Leaders. Twenty-five ‘winners’ were then about CKI and the other We’d love to bring home a trophy!” picked at random, coming from This trip will help us to work businesses they have.” better a wide range of roles across the as one team, in line with whole company. General Duties Operative John Brook, our values, as Sarah Salter, HR Director explains: “It’s a from Suffolk Distribution Maintenance, recalls how he unique opportunity for people to get to know colleagues felt when he got the call: “I thought it was a wind-up!” they wouldn’t necessarily work with and to share ideas. laughs John. I think we’re all still in shock that It’s about people understanding different approaches, we’re going. I won’t believe it until I’m there!” building connections and sharing their new network Our colleagues will represent the Northumbrian of contacts with colleagues here when they get back.” Water Group, along with Heidi and members of the We are looking forward to hearing all about the trip, Management team at the CKI Orientation Week and which we’ll be sure to catch up on in the next issue. Family Day. It’s expected to be an exciting and rewarding In the meantime, keep an eye on Cascade for updates.

incentive for people to get behind the campaign,” explains Paul. The competition, which is split between teams and individuals, uses driver’s fuel cards to log how much fuel is bought and used across a month. Certificates are given to the winners, with the

top individuals also receiving a £20 Marks & Spencer voucher. “We’ve all been amazed by the response we’ve had and we’re exceeding our expectations when it comes to our target figures, too,” beams Paul. Keep up the good work, guys!

The winners so far are… MONTH



June 2013

Distribution Maintenance – Essex Operations

Kevin Snowden (Wastewater Northern Ops)

July 2013

Sewerage Operations – Tees Area

Rob Bezkorowajny (Essex Operations)

August 2013

Sewerage Operations – Tees Area

Kath Shields (Sampling Operations – Wastewater)

September 2013

Distribution Operations – Tees Area

Bob Gallagher (Essex Leakage team)

NICK WARNER Customer Care Advisor

Colleague Colleague TO

Nick Warner Customer Care Advisor caught up with excited Contact Enquiry team Leader Lisa Dixon, to hear her thoughts on the Hong Kong adventure. What did you receive your ViVA award nomination for? I was nominated from within the Litigation team under the ‘One team’ value, recognising the help I provided on an enquiry. Although the specific area in question was outside my job role, I was able to help. How did you feel when you heard about the trip to Hong Kong? Very excited. A number of my team had also received ViVa nominations, so there was a feeling of excitement throughout the team! What was your reaction to being chosen for the trip? Absolutely ecstatic – it was unbelievable! I was on an 8am start and, shortly after I arrived at work, I took a call from Customer Services Director, Ian Donald, to confirm that I’d been successful. I initially assumed that he was calling about an account query I’d been looking into for him! Have you ever won anything before? Yes, I’ve been quite lucky in the past, winning some ‘unusual’ prizes. Perhaps the most unique was a prize won on Galaxy Radio. It was an oversized drinks fridge: black, complete with fluorescent lights and stocked full of brightly-coloured WKD!

What are you most looking forward to seeing and doing when you’re in Hong Kong? Because of the excitement about the trip, I’ve arranged to stay on in Hong Kong for an extra two nights. I’ll be tempted by the shopping opportunities in Stanley Market and will probably want to see The Peak. The hotel also has a great swimming pool, which I definitely intend to try out while I’m there! How do you think you’ll benefit from meeting other colleagues within the wider Northumbrian Water family? I’m looking forward to meeting other people from Essex & Suffolk Water as well as others from different businesses from within CKI and learning about their different roles and what they do. What do you hope to gain from the trip that you can take back to work? I’m aware that, within the CKI group, there are different types of businesses, including other utility companies. Meeting people from other parts of the group will provide an opportunity to share ideas and best practices. I hear you can take a ‘buddy’ with you. Have you anyone in mind? Yes, I’m taking my friend, Nicola. Like me, she was ecstatic when she found out she was going! | NOVEMBER 2013



2013 Roadsho So just what has been happening at all of our 2013 Roadshows… When you read this our 2013 Roadshows will be nearing an end! Altogether we’ll have done 61 sessions over 19 days with over 2,000 of you attending. The feedback, suggestions, ideas, conversations and banter have been great. The Roadshows covered the marketplace, an update from Heidi and the Management team, facilitated breakouts, a live Q&A session and video updates on personal development and our successes this year.

Here’s a flavour of what’s gone on… The marketplace stepped up a notch again, with a great range of interactive stalls, opportunities to give feedback, collect giveaways and win prizes. You could see, feel and touch your new uniform range and tell us what you think. Find out about

Last time around...

improvements in IS including a preview of the new iPhones and tablets replacing PDAs, and ask the Service Desk guys about technology issues. Learn about the different ways we are talking to customers, including the new mobile web and see how we are planning for the next 25 years with Future Horizons. Get advice on diversity, health, safety and well-being including some simple health checks. Consider opportunities for your personal development and ‘Just an hour’, and give us your thoughts on terms and conditions simplification. The facilitated sessions you all took part in with directors provided a wealth of information to work with going forward. They also showed that we are moving in the right direction with a fair mix of things that have improved and areas where we still have some work to do. Some of the things we’ve covered include customer communication and the improvements with tweeting and texting, developments in IS including the move from PDAs and opportunities for remote working, training issues and opportunities, improved communication and access to Cascade, ideas for efficiencies, specific suggestions for

You had some great suggestions at last year’s Roadshows and we’ve worked together to make some of your ideas a reality. Video conferencing Robert Wilson has 80% hearing loss. This didn’t affect most aspects of his job, but when it came to video conferencing, Robert struggled. His role as Electrical Authorising Engineer means Robert needs to talk regularly to colleagues in both our north and south offices via video conferencing. However, as speech and sound can be out of sync, Robert was unable to lip read and understand what was being said. “It felt very isolating,” said Robert. “I didn’t have the opportunity to speak up or join in with the meetings, which was also very frustrating. It needed to get sorted, so I wrote a postcard to Heidi at the last Roadshow, explaining what I was going through.” Since then, we’ve been working on several solutions



to make sure Robert can contribute in meetings and no longer feels sidelined. “The team got in touch with a number of contractors and it was trial and error to start with,” Robert explains. “Dave Hayley, our Teleconference Engineer, then got involved and contacted a company that deals with translations. From there, I was set up with an iPad, and a translator is dialled into every teleconference. She sits in her company office and types what is being said throughout the whole meeting. It then appears on my iPad like subtitles – it’s fantastic!” Since last year’s Roadshow, Robert’s work life has changed dramatically. “I’m much happier now,” he beams. “I’m less stressed because I can take part. I used to be quite introverted, but now I’m able to speak up and be heard.”

PDAs You told us that your PDA devices were inadequate and hindered your day-to-day work. You’ll be pleased to hear that this won’t be the case for much longer. This autumn, 350 employees received new iPhones, and throughout 2014 we’re rolling out iPads. This will significantly improve our working lives and our customer experience, as IS Service Delivery Manager, Malcolm Duffield explains: “We’ve already had some great feedback from people who’ve been using the new iPhones. We’ve decided to exclusively roll-out Apple devices, as we’re happy with the level of security they have. We’re also aware that many of our colleagues already have iPhones, so don’t require any training to use them.” Malcolm continues: “Having these smartphones means we can do our jobs more efficiently, which leaves time for us to speak to our customers. It also means we can access in-house systems such as Cascade, send emails and check our calendar – without worrying if the battery is going to run out!” If you’d like to know more about the roll-out, or have any queries about PDAs, please email the Service Desk in the first instance.

ow Round-up improvements or fixes, and progress in our way. The information you’ve provided will be looked at so we can identify where we need to take some action. Heidi and the Management team really enjoyed the new question and answer session and never knew what to expect! There was a great range of questions. Topics covered customer service, flooding, our parent company CKI and our journey to industry leader and more personal questions like your favourite part about working for NWL, what are you having for tea, do you prefer a bear or a monkey? Yes, it’s not a typo... a bear or a monkey! This was the opportunity for everyone to ask whatever they wanted and it proved a big hit. It was great to see so many of you coming along and taking part; the Roadshows wouldn’t be the same without you giving your thoughts, ideas and feedback. Watch this space for further updates on the themes and actions that will be picked up as a result of the conversations we’ve had.

Lone working Your health and safety is important to us. At last year’s Roadshows it was brought to our attention that one colleague was working alone in remote areas, and sometimes with no phone signal. Dam Surveyor Kevin Miller, explains: “I work at dams stretching from the Scottish Borders area to as far south as Chigwell inside the M25 London ring road. As a lone worker, for safety reasons I need to call in whenever I get to my destination, so in remote areas with no reception, this is very difficult. On a few occasions I may have to spend at least an hour driving back and forth from an area with no phone signal, just so I could make the check-in call.”

New uniforms After hearing his story, the Telecoms team gave Kevin a satellite phone. They worked with Kevin and tested the phone in non-reception areas until they were happy that it worked sufficiently well. “I’m much happier now,” says Kevin. “Not only can I work more efficiently, I feel so much safer knowing that I’m accounted for – I know my wife appreciates that I’m looked after, too!” A lone working project has been set up to look at this issue company wide, it’s now well underway, research has been undertaken and technology solutions are currently being looked at with a view to trialling next year.

ON CALL: Kevin’s kitted out

There’s been a predominantly positive response to the uniform samples so far. Lots of you like the design, and the navy and turquoise colour scheme. Your comments have told us that we’re going in the right direction, which is exactly what we want to get from our Roadshows – as always, it’s your chance to help us understand what you want and need. Previously we were told the fabric was too heavy, and could sometimes be uncomfortable. We’ve taken this on board and aim to provide breathable polo shirts, trousers and a light micro-fleece, along with the appropriate PPE. We’ve been listening to you and responding to your suggestions. The next stage will be a proposal meeting to firm up the designs, and we hope to have the new uniform ready next summer. | NOVEMBER 2013



ViVa fever! Our ViVa Awards celebrate our amazing colleagues who go above and beyond at work and embody our visions and values.

This year’s ViVa Awards ceremony was a night to remember. The finalists gathered at the impressive Glass Centre in Sunderland in July, to find out who had won the prestigious ViVa gongs. So, which of our fantastic employees are ViVa Award winners...

ViVa 2013 winner of the year Ray Armstrong, Technical Support Advisor


To improve the guest experience Winner at the Tower Knowe Leisure team site, the Leisure Runner up team decided that both the café and Team Dwaine the shop needed a complete makeover. Time was short, so it was all hands on deck. From rangers to housekeepers, maintenance to waitresses, everyone was getting involved. Concepts were developed, materials and tools were sourced, counters were rebuilt, walls were plastered, piping and wiring installed, and there was a new colour scheme throughout. With a tight timescale and no interior designer experience between them, the team achieved a tremendous transformation. David Hall, Head of Leisure Strategy & Transformation, says: “Everyone was overawed, even just to be nominated and go to the ceremony! ALSO... It was The Leisure team have recently be fantastic en shortlisted for th e No rth East Tourism for the team Awards! They’re in the category to win. We were of Best Holiday Park for their amazing all so delighted. Lewisburn Lodg e. We’ll pick Since them, it’s up on this in the next issue, motivated and and see how they got on. inspired them to do more.”


Outstanding professionalism Due to widespread flooding, 2012 was a very challenging year for our Sewerage team, as Linzie Pentleton recalls: “We had a lot to take care of last year, and even now we’re still dealing Winner with the effects of the floods.” Throughout this time, the team have worked with some very Sewerage team distressed customers, yet have maintained a level Runner up of understanding and professionalism at all times. HR team They are also working on future cleansing programmes and customer education. “We’re just so pleased to have been recognised,” said Linzie. “There were a lot of great teams up for this award, which makes it extra special.”

Customer Focused



Special award for Health and Safety: Winner Sandra Williams

Caring for Colleagues Sandra has had a massive impact on health and safety in a relatively short space of time as Health and Safety Auditor. The Leadership team have recognised her contribution to communicating health and safety messages to our people, and ensuring their well-being. Sandra’s passion, drive and determination have brought new life to the role.

A creative guest experience

Our community dynamo

Jane personifies all things ethical, following an overwhelming urge to make the lives of others better. Although her ‘day job’ is based on our community work, many will not appreciate the extent of the things she does above and beyond this. She is creative in how she fundraises, as well as offering support and guidance to help as many organisations as she can. “Being announced the winner of the Ethical category was a genuine shock,” says Jane. “For me the best part of winning was being given the opportunity to give a £300 donation to a charity of my choice. Leonard Cheshire Disability hold a special place in my heart and, therefore, I chose them. I would encourage those who have never nominated someone for a ViVa Award to take the time to do so as without nominations we wouldn’t have these awards.”

Winner Jane Morland, Corporate Responsibility team Leader Runner up Graham Smith, Distribution Technician

2012 winners We’d like to take this opportunity to give a big shout out, and finally say congratulations to all of last year’s winners, too! A huge well done to everyone who won a ViVa Award in 2012.



Maintenance team’s ‘Thunder Thursday’

Our Maintenance team responded excellently to an evening in June that has since been christened ‘Thunder Thursday’. The team was inundated with Winner calls of no power, loss of communications and an Maintenance array of electrical problems on numerous sites, North team right across our northern supply area. Realising that this was no ordinary incident, the standby team Runner up called out reinforcements to help. Impressively, they Derwent North received many calls from team members proactively Incident team offering help. “The events on Thunder Thursday were unprecedented but the team performed amazingly, with people coming back into work without being asked, even those on holiday,” says Regional Maintenance Manager Andrew Blakemore. “I was chuffed to bits when we won. I know how hard these guys work, and for them to be recognised for this hard work made me a very proud man.”

Ray had a simple idea – if we could reduce the CREATIVE amount of sewer litter discharged, we would receive fewer complaints and save on clean up operations – Winner and so the sewer litter basket was born, with the aim to capture sewer litter from overflowing Ray Armstrong, combined sewage overflow (CSO). Ray did it all – Technical Support from the idea, designing the prototype, having the Advisor prototype built, identifying a suitable problem site, Runner up to carrying out trials. Ice pigging Ray secured support for a larger trial, targeting a number of problem CSOs. At one single overflow trials team incident, the basket captured 20kg of litter. Ray showed true determination, and had real faith in his idea. He went above and beyond; he has improved outcomes for our customers, whilst considering the environment and reducing business costs. Read more about Ray in our colleague interview below...

Distribution Support Team Leader

Colleague Colleague TO

RESULTS DRIVEN For their commitment to achieving results for customers... Winner – Denise Riches, Customer team Leader – South Runner up – Dan Chowles, Treatment Works Operative

ETHICAL For making things better for our customers... Winner – Paul Grimwood, Project Manager Runner up – Hazel Burlison, Customer Advisor


Thinking outside the box

Suzy Tanrikuli

For being dedicated and delivering amazing customer service... Winner – Alison Branton, Customer Advisor Runner up – David Groak, Project Manager

For their novel approach to a network support unit... Winners – Ian Wade, Trunk Mains Controller, Dave Foster, VLS Service Engineer and Andrew Charleton, Trunk Mains Controller

ONE TEAM For introducing AAD at Howdon... Winner – Howdon AAD Project team Runner up – Mosswood Planning and Turbine Installation team

SPECIAL AWARDS FOR INNOVATION For introducing AAD at Howdon... Winner – AAD Project team Runner up – Alan Stewart, Maintenance Technician


Colleague Colleague TO

Team Leader Denise Riches works in our Distribution Operations South Call Centre at Sandon Valley House. She was the first ever ViVa Winner of the Year in 2012. So Denise, tell me about your award. For the Results Driven category I won £300 and an equivalent donation to the charity of my choice, which was Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. I got a shiny award to display at work too! For winning overall I got £3,000, which I used to take my partner and children on a trip to Disney Land Paris. I also got a trophy, which I got to keep for a year. Ray has it now! What do you think made you stand out from the other nominees? My work had a big impact on reducing the SIM score, which was a Hot Topic at the time. I think the company was really ready to embrace change in customer service, and I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right idea. What do you think made you stand out from the other nominees? It was humbling. There are lots of people who do great stuff in the company every day. It was also a great honour. How did colleagues feel about you winning the award? They were chuffed to bits, really proud of me. It was fantastic.

One rainy day in Cramlington, Ray Armstrong, Technical Support Advisor, came up with a simple idea, which became an international first. His creativity prompted a colleague to nominate him for a ViVa award which he won, and he went on to be selected as the overall ViVa winner of 2013.

Ray’s brainchild, the Armstrong screening basket is uniquely designed with the aim of capturing sewerage litter from combined sewer overflows, before it overspills into rivers and streams. Early trials show the device greatly reduces pollution, costly clean ups, and minimises unwanted customer contact. Ray recalls what it meant to win: “I was so happy to be recognised. I really didn’t expect to be the overall winner but looking back now, I can see how it ticked a lot of boxes.” The awards ceremony at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland was a fantastic evening for Ray

Eleanor Willis

and his wife with lots of champagne! As the overall Viva Award winner, Ray received £300 to donate to a charity of his choice. Ray’s eldest son Dylan has cystic fibrosis – so he chose to donate to a charity close to his heart; the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Reflecting on the best thing about the ViVa Awards, Ray says: “They recognise people’s achievements and encourage people to pursue what they believe in. Lots of people have ideas for improvements and I was just grateful to be allowed the opportunity to pursue mine.” So can we expect any new inventions from Ray in the future? Ray smiles secretively: “Well there is something in the pipeline, but it’s under wraps for now.” We look forward to catching up with Ray in a future issue to find out more.

“I was so happy to be recognised for. I really didn’t expect to be the overall winner.”

What are the benefits of having awards such as the ViVas? I think it’s good to have a high profile event like the ViVas. It gives us the chance to celebrate people who are doing something different. Did you attend the ceremony? Eventually! (It had to be postponed twice due to severe weather conditions!) It was up in Newcastle at the Baltic art gallery – such a great venue. Any final words you’d like to add? I think the ViVa awards are a great way of recognising and celebrating people’s hard work. So my message is, if you feel like someone has done something that makes a difference, however big or small, nominate them! Even if you don’t think it’s enough to make them the overall winner it doesn’t matter, they can still win £25 in the monthly random draw and even if they don’t it’s still nice to be nominated and have your contribution ns Nomination for recognised. Don’t take e p o w o are n so if you your colleagues for this year, eone in granted – use the think someserves a d your teamd fill in the ViVa awards! r a w ViVa a able now form avail cade. on Cas | NOVEMBER 2013


Welcome to Finding his voice my office! We’ve been travelling around the company to check out where our people work.


m Brian Denha Job title:

Operator 1 Where:

e Works, g a w e S y le t Bir Durham I manage the whole of our sewage works on There are pros and cons to working on my own. my own. It was daunting at first, but you soon get It’s great that I’m essentially my own boss. My hours used to the busier day-to-day workload. I do initial aren’t very flexible though, and there’s a standby rota for checks in the morning and make sure that there when out of hours problems crop up. I can work a lot more are no electrical or mechanical faults, structural efficiently when I’m able to plan my own day though, imperfections or blockages. If there are any problems, and it’s great taking my lunch when it suits me, too! I judge the priority level then write up a report. This is then sent out to the I do sometimes miss the “The place is full of operational teams who come banter though. I’ve got out and assess the situation. of stories to share and ducks, swans, kingfishers loads So I never feel completely I sometimes miss having a cut off from the rest of as well as dragonflies, chat – my colleagues might the company. be interested to hear that I’ve newts and frogs. I’ve even been on the show You’ve Been It can be really beautiful in Framed, ten times! And I was seen deer!” amongst the reed beds. I get in the 1971 film, Get Carter. to see lots of different wildlife, especially in But I have to say, nothing beats being at the reed the summer. The place is full of ducks, swans, beds on a summer evening when the sun’s going kingfishers as well as dragonflies, newts and frogs. down – I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve even seen deer! It’s testament to how clean the water is, and how our purification process is working well. I’ve found some strange things in my time! I’ve worked in sewerage for 35 years now, so I’ve come across some curious things. Since working at Birtley, I’ve seen shopping trolleys, prams, old irons, chairs and car parts in the sewer. It’s amazing what people throw away!



On his 50th birthday, Maintenance Technician Andy Kelly did something he never would have dreamed of – he stood on a soapbox in Newcastle city centre, and gave his first ever speech. Throughout his childhood and into his working life, Andy had a stammer. Although he has worked with us at Northumbrian Water for more than ten years, some of his colleagues may be surprised to hear his story. Andy explains: “I have what they call a ‘covert stammer’. For most of my life I have hidden my stammer by adapting and avoiding situations where I needed to speak in front of people, so 99% of my colleagues were unaware.” Andy continues: “It completely takes over your life. It gets exhausting after a while.” So, Andy decided to take action. With the support of his manager and team leader, he secured a place on a four-day course called the McGuire Programme, made famous by pop singer Gareth Gates. The programme taught Andy the ‘sport of speaking’, through one-to-one tutoring and training. “I was constantly pushed to go beyond my comfort zone, which even meant standing on a soapbox in Newcastle city centre, and telling all the shoppers who I was and where I came from! On my 50th birthday, too!” Since completing the course, Andy feels like a different man: “It’s unbelievable how much I’ve changed since completing the course. It’s not just about the stammer – I’m much more confident in everything I do.

It’s the little things, like being able to answer the phone and contribute in meetings, added up, they make a huge difference. I’m so grateful for the support of my colleagues throughout this whole process – it wouldn’t have been possible without them.” It’s been all go for Andy since he completed the course. He trains every day, using techniques such as breathing correctly and keeping eye contact with people when talking to them. And he hasn’t stopped there: “I push myself every day and have a list of goals I’d like to achieve – I’ve said a prayer in my local church, I’m on the reading list for the church, too, and more recently I gave a presentation to Heidi and a group of colleagues about my experience – I was so proud of myself for going through with it.” This time a few months ago, Andy would never have dreamt he’d have such long list of achievements behind him, which now includes doing a live interview on Radio Teeside! “It really has been a life changer,” says Andy. “I’m so much happier both at work and in my home life, and I’ve even been asked by the McGuire Programme if I’d like to become a part-time trainer – it’s a first; they’ve never asked anyone who went on the fresher course to do it. I’m so proud of myself!” We’re proud of you, too, Andy. Well done!

“It completely takes over your life. It gets exhausting after a while.”

y t i r a h C


Our chance to say a big thank you and well done to all our fundraising heroes!

Get involved! Together we have raised an amazing

BOXED IN: Colleagues from Essex and Suffolk

Doing it for the kids Every year, colleagues from our offices make Christmas better for children across the world. Shoe box appeals are a great way to ensure children in deprived circumstances have something to open on Christmas morning. This year, we want more people to get involved with this great cause. Jane Morland, Corporate Responsibility team Leader says: “Over the years, we’ve found that lots of people want to help out, but don’t know how.” She adds: “We’d love to hear from you – the more people that get involved, the more smiling children there will be on Christmas morning.”

And it’s not just children who can benefit from the appeal, as Jane explains: “We also collect items to make boxes for the homeless. These tend to include things like hats, gloves and socks. If you’re donating to either cause, you can take your box to designated drop-off points, or arrange for them to be collected. “Last year we collected over 100 boxes,” says Jane. “And now we’re hoping to smash that number!”

If anyone is interested in supporting any of our other collections or wants to arrange a collection in their area please contact jane.morland@

If you’d like to get involved, drop your shoe box heroes a line at, or

Charlotte Deacon Contact Enquiry Team Advisor

Under construction Work is well underway at our new building… Construction started in August with our contractor R G Carter and the building is rapidly taking shape. The new build is located on the Riverside Business Park, off Canning Road. As you can see from the photograph there is substantial development to the site, scheduled for completion in June 2014. At present all of the steel frames and fixings are complete,

the metal deck for the roof is installed, precast stairs have been put in, work has started on the plant room and lift, and groundwork has begun on the additional car park area. We asked those affected by the new construction for their views: “I am looking forward to a cable free office!” said Jane Knight, Health and Safety Rep. “I think it’s a good move.”



for charity so far this year.

We’ve had bake sales, raffles, fun-runs – the list goes on! We’d like to hear from you about the work you’ve been doing for good causes, and why you chose your nominated charity.


IN THE PINK Our colleagues at St Mary’s have been digging deep, in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign.

It was a day to remember on Friday 25 October, when colleagues at St Mary’s held a charity fundraising day. The main event was a fantastic bake sale, but they also raised money by

declaring it as a ‘casual day’ in the office. Some employees really dressed up for the occasion! A total of £164.25 was raised – well done to everyone who was involved.

Karen Fox, Contact Enquiry team Advisor agrees: “It’ll be great. Having an insulated office, free from rattling draughty windows will be particularly nice!”.

If you have any questions about the new contact centre you can contact Ali Hebditch on extension 4175 or 4575 | NOVEMBER 2013



A marathon effort JANINE SCOTT Communications Advisor

Almost 1,000 runners descended on Kielder Water & Forest Park for a special marathon in October. A full weekend of events (which includes Kielder Junior Runs, Kielder 10K, Kielder Run-Bike-Run and the main marathon itself) attracts outdoor adventure enthusiasts from around the world, as well as an abundance of Northumbrian Water colleagues! It’s the first marathon that Tony Erskine, Distributions Operations Controller for Northumberland, has ever taken part in. He completed it in four hours 32 minutes and said: “It was great to be a part of this fantastic event in a stunning location. This was my

biggest personal challenge yet and I raised more than £600 for the Stroke Association. It was tough going, but I felt extremely proud at the finish. The organisation and support was superb.” The wet weather, which proved more of an endurance test for spectators, didn’t put anybody off. Not even our volunteer colleagues, who were handing out water and goody bags throughout the event. A huge congratulations and thank you to everybody who played a part in a great day.

“It was great to be a part of this fantastic event in a stunning location.”

Tenth anniversary Spot the Difference celebrations The most popular event in the Christmas calendar, Kielder Winter Wonderland, is celebrating its Tenth anniversary with another sell-out year.

We’re all getting into the Christmas spirit here, and Kielder Water & Forest Park is no exception! Every winter, with a bit of help from our Leisure team and employees at Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, Leaplish Waterside Park is transformed. The magical setting is full of festive surprises and attractions for the whole family. Francesca Willumsen, Commercial Marketing Executive at Boldon House, visited last year with her niece and nephew: “Winter Wonderland

Jill Martin challenges you!

is amazing! The kids loved every part of it and it kept them occupied the whole day. The theatre shows are really good and we helped Santa’s elves in their workshop, and of course met Santa himself. It was well worth the money.” This year is extra special – for the anniversary, England’s darkest skies will be lit by beautiful twinkling lights on one of the tallest growing Christmas trees in the forest.

For more info or to book tickets, visit or call 0845 155 1553.

10 NOVEMBER 2013 |

It’s nearly that time of year again! To get us into the Christmas spirit, how about a festive game? No, not charades! With the help of Kielder Winter Wonderland’s Mrs Christmas, can you spot 13 differences between the pictures below?

EMAIL YOUR ED BOARD For the answers


A Captain’s Tale WordSearch Vision & Values

Mark Kitching, Production Operator at Lumley Water Treatment works, is soon coming to the end of his tenure as Captain of Boldon Golf Club. “It has been a busy year, but I have enjoyed it immensely and I hope that all my work has been of benefit to the club.” He added, “I know it has benefited me, both personally and professionally. I feel that my social and leadership skills have

been enhanced and my organisational abilities stretched beyond what I thought myself capable of!” Mark’s hard work and commitment have certainly paid off. Under his leadership the club has gained great success, winning the North Durham County Division 2 Championship – one up from last year’s successful Division 3 Championship win. As Captain, Mark chooses which charity the club supports and this year he has chosen WaterAid. All monies raised will be handed over to our WaterAid representative Christine Mellor when his captaincy comes to an end in 2014.

Ashley harrison challenges you!

M I F L G E E V I T A E R C E TEE TIME: Mark and his team

There are 12 words hidden in the wordsearch, that make up our Vision & Values. The words appear in all directions. Fancy a go?















ANSWERS over the page

Charlotte Deacon Contact Enquiry Team Advisor

Fast and Furious Suffolk Sports & Leisure proudly hosted a thrilling afternoon’s entertainment at Ellough Park Raceway track near Beccles. The Ellough Park Raceway track

Eighteen people attended a Mini Grand Prix Battle, and it was a fierce competition from the word go! Customer Collections Advisor Victor Holloway said: “There was lot of bravado and banter flying all over the place – and so were we! I crashed into the wall at 60 mph! We had full safety gear on though, so we were well prepared for any close shaves!” Special mentions to Liam Hall and Matt Gander who were the highest finishers of second and fourth respectively and to Victor and his colleagues, Kev Woods and Jason Mercer (pictured here), for really getting into the spirit of it. Even with a few bumps and bruises, it sounds like a great time was had by all – roll on next year, as the competition continues!

CHAMPION EFFORT: Next stop Silverstone! | NOVEMBER 2013


Future HorizonS

Stepping into NWL in 2 0 4 0 the future

To help us exceed our customers’ expectations in the long term, as well as over the next five years, we’re preparing for the future.

have grown and more people continue to move into towns and cities. “It’s difficult to plan for everything, but Future Horizons, which the company developed back in 2013, has helped us to be as prepared as possible for all eventualities. Looking after our ‘Future Generations’ was as important to us then, as it is now. We studied aspects

In this part of the newspaper, our Future Horizons avatar tells us what life is like in 2040, and explains why it’s so important for us and our customers’ to plan ahead now. Here, we focus on ‘Future Generations’. Hi, I’m Jo. I’ve worked here since 2015 – what a journey! As you can imagine, there’s been a lot of change, inside and outside of the company. The technological advances have been amazing. The world is increasingly influenced by Artificial Intelligence entities and

machines, and we’ve adapted our way of life because of this. The environment is different too – the climate has noticeably changed. It’s warmer than in 2015, and the seasons are less defined. There are more people too. As city infrastructures

To find out more about the Future Horizons Plan,

of our customers’ lives then, and how we imagined they might live in 2040. We looked into all areas – affordability, climate, population growth, economic growth, technology and infrastructure – to make sure we could fully understand our future customers and provide them with the best service possible. “It’s helped me and my colleagues, too. Having Future Horizons made us sit up and think about how the world was changing, and how our customers’ lives and needs were changing as well. It definitely prepared me for the different way of working in 2040. Although, I always try to apply that good old ‘human touch’ when I speak to customers – just like I did when I started in 2015!

visit and click on ‘Future Horizons’.

Our Business Plan

We’ve got lots to do in the next five years. Here’s our Business Plan explained...

We are proud to contribute to the success of local communities We provide a sewerage service that deals effectively with sewage and heavy rainfall


Our customers consider the services they receive to be value for money

99.94% 56,832

Hours volunteered.

we help to improve the quality of rivers and coastal waters

2,572 Organisations supported. (Total since 2002)


North East



80% Excellent/Good quality bathing water.

2015-16 2016-17

We work in partnership towards common goals

2017-18 2018-19

£377 £388 £400 £412


Essex & Suffolk

WE PROVIDE a reliable and sufficient supply of water




greenhouse emissions.



reduction by 2020.

30% Power from processing poo.

WordSearch ANSWERS

Results, Driven, Customer, Focused, One, Team, Creative, People, Vision, Values, Competitive, Ethical.

Drop your Editorial Board a line at 12 NOVEMBER 2013 |

What this would mean for the average bill payer by 2019-20

We protect and enhance the environment

Compliance with required standards.

Samples per year.

Percentage of employees who volunteered in local communities.

We deliver water services that meet the needs of current and future generations


Sufficient quality bathing water.

WE PROVIDE excellent service and impress our customers


2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 (Average bill)

£234 £242 £249 £256


£424 £229


The Big Splash - Issue 1