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Building for the future

By Hinkley Point C media team | Posted July 24, 2019

Building for the future

Hinkley Point C is not just about creating a low-carbon future for sustainable electricity; it embodies a lasting legacy of benefits for the South West. Find out more about EDF Energy’s ambitious targets for equipping a new generation of skilled workers, creating a wealth of jobs, growing local businesses and improving lives in local communities.

Community Fund

£11m of community fund delivered to date, against a target of £20m.

£981m spent within the regional economy to date.

Building community

Along with the construction of new roads and cycle paths, investing in business mentoring schemes, and funding improvements to parks and recreation areas, Hinkley Point C is helping local charities and organisations support those in need, bring people together and create diverse vibrant communities.

With its £4,783 funding from the HPC Community Fund, Rusty Road 2 Recovery (RR2R) is a new social enterprise that supports people with mental health issues, bringing them together to restore classic British vehicles, and take part in airbrush therapy.

“It’s still very much in its infancy,” said Helen Whittaker, Airbrush Recovery Councillor. “But already it’s helping end isolation, and putting people on the road to recovery by giving them the support they need.”

RR2R has been a lifeline for one project participant, who lives with depression and shut himself away after losing his job last year. He’s now back at work, thanks to the project, which helped him reconnect with old friends, and brought out his creative side too.

“It gives you something to look forward to and keeps you in touch with real life. It also reminded me of my creativity and what I’m capable of,” he said.

After years of being imprisoned at home by mental and physical health issues, Jess Enisto has made new friends and gained the confidence to team up with a partner to sell their artwork.

“Before RR2R, that would never have happened,” she said. “It literally has been the road to recovery for me.  I’ve made friends, and having this support has helped me start to heal. The future is hugely better for me. I no longer feel alone and I don’t feel guilty for weighing on family and friends,” Jess added.

Safe space for residents

The community centre at Westfield URC Church has become a real hub for local life. An initial grant from the HPC CIM Fund helped create a vibrant café area, and a second tranche of funding will allow further improvements.

The café was created in 2014 with an initial grant and has been brilliant at helping end isolation as a vital drop-in centre for people to socialise, join a range of groups, access jobs and benefits digitally or be a customer and get a wholesome meal for 20p when money is tight.

The centre is now being updated thanks to a further award of £226,400. New rooms are being created for private and group counselling and the funding will also help the church to provide community worker support for the next three years.

Rachel Leach, Project Officer, said: “For years, we’ve seen a need for this kind of support but just weren’t able to upgrade the facilities. We’re not a wealthy organisation. We share what we have but, without the funding, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of this. It’s great that we can now help residents in our local community in facing a range of life’s challenges. Because the building is now open every day of the week, there is always someone around so people can pop in when they are in a state of struggle without feeling intimidated.”

Chris Baillie, Minister of Westfield and Cannington United Reformed Churches, said: “New possibilities always bring new challenges, but when communities are strong they cope better. Our Community Work post, and improved community facilities, will allow us to offer support to individuals and groups in both town and the countryside. This grant enables us to extend and improve what we can offer in times of rapid changes.”

People, education, skills and employment

7,300 job opportunities created so far, against the goal of 25,000 during the full lifespan of the project.

430 apprentices trained on site to date, against a target of 1,000.

Inspiring the next generation

Launched as part of a £15 million investment into education, skills and employment, EDF Energy’s Inspire education programme is growing the engineers and scientists of tomorrow by encouraging young people into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and preparing them for thousands of job opportunities at Hinkley Point C.

The project has already delivered more than 1,000 STEM and careers activities, involving 415 schools and 166,786 student interactions across the region. Now Hinkley Point C has been recognised as a Cornerstone Employer in the Heart of the South West Careers Hub.

This means that, in partnership with Babcock International, The Careers & Enterprise Company and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), EDF Energy has pledged to do even more to prepare young people for work by giving them better access to careers advice, support and guidance.

Supported traineeship

Research shows that young people having regular, meaningful interactions with employers while at school are less likely to be NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) when they leave, so we’ll be doing what we can to engage them, develop their talents and build lasting careers.

Together with Somerset County Council, Somerset Skills and Learning and the charity Discovery, the Young Hinkley Point C team developed a 10-week programme enabling people with special educational needs to gain meaningful work experience.

During the first ten-week course, six local young people gained work preparation training, developed skills like English and maths, and experienced roles in catering, facilities management, hospitality and administration with EDF Energy, BYLOR, HOST, Somerset Larder and G4S Facilities Management. All six have successfully secured paid employment with the project and locally.

UK economic benefits and supply chain

50% of the workforce recruited from the local area against a target of 34%.

£1.5m invested to develop a Construction Skills & Innovation Centre at Bridgwater & Taunton College.

Confidence to grow

Working on the project has not only helped local companies win business and a secure future, but allowed them to further develop their expertise…

The Somerset Infrastructure Alliance (SIA) is a strategic partnership between Skanska Infrastructure Services, Forest Traffic Management Ltd, and RK Bell Ltd delivering infrastructure projects like the Cannington park and ride and Bridgewater road improvements.

Family run for 80 years, Bridgwater-based RK Bell was a SIA founding member. Managing Director Nick Bell explains the benefits: “We went to the very first meetings eight or nine years ago and were appointed to the first steering groups set up to look at how local firms could benefit from the project, so we’ve been involved right from the start.

“Apart from winning contracts, which has been a massive boost, knowledge we’ve acquired both through working alongside Tier 1 contractors and through improvements to our own internal processes to comply with the site’s regulations has been priceless. To be able to work equally with Skanska demonstrates the level of expertise we have and that we are improving all the time.

“The length of contracts we have won with HPC have given us the confidence to invest more in young people and to start our very first apprenticeship scheme to create the next generation of highly skilled and motivated construction workers.”

Discover even more ways we’re investing in local people, businesses and communities in our Hinkley Point C Socio-Economic Report 2019