22 Apr 16

Canine companions on fact-finding mission to Hinkley Point B

FOUR-legged visitors have been helping Hinkley Point station guides strengthen a new partnership with local disability group Sedgemoor Disability Forum.
Assistance dog Gino the Labrador and miniature poodle Waffle the hearing dog joined their owners on tours of Hinkley Point B power station near Bridgwater.
They were accompanied by their owners for fact-finding missions to see how accessible the power station could be for visitors with restricted mobility and other disabilities.
“EDF Energy works closely with National Star College in Gloucester which provides further education for people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties. We welcomed students to the station to give us valuable feedback on how we could improve accessibility,” said station guide Sue Butler.
“As a result of their comments we contacted the Sedgemoor Disability Forum to see how we could help local disabled people make the most of our station tours and several people took up our invitation.”
While Gino was the first assistance dog on site with his owner, EDF Energy office assistant Becky Andrews, Waffle followed in his paw-prints with owner Joan Pinder who met Sue at the Sedgemoor Disability Forum.Together with her partner Colin Lane she toured the station and was full of praise for the efforts of staff.
“It was fascinating to find out how everything works and everyone was so kind and understanding,” said Joan, who has been deaf since the age of three.
Fellow forum member Jean toured the turbine hall and the control room simulator with the help of Hinkley Point B’s foundation degree student Damon Booth.
Since it opened in December 2012, the Hinkley Point Visitor Centre in Angel Place Shopping Centre in Bridgwater has welcomed more than 40,000 visitors, while 8,000 people have toured Hinkley Point B to see how a nuclear power station works.
Visitor centre staff also regularly support local and national charities, including hosting awareness events for the British Heart Foundation, St John’s Ambulance, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and the National Autistic Society.
The centre is open six days a week, Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4pm and on Saturdays between 9.30am and 1pm.
An EDF Energy customer services representative is also in the visitor centre every Wednesday between 10am and 3pm answering customer queries.
More information about the visitor centre, or to book a tour of Hinkley Point B power station, is available by emailing hinkleybtours@edf-energy.com or telephoning 01278 429225/01278 428988.
The Sedgemoor Disability Forum is facilitated by Compass Disability Services and gives disabled people and their carers living and working in the Sedgemoor district a chance to come together to be consulted and informed on a range of issues from different organisations.
It meets twice a year at different venues in the Sedgemoor area, with the next meeting due to be held on Tuesday, May 24, at The Canalside, Huntworth, near Bridgwater.
More information is available from Mandy Seaman on 01823 282823, e-mail mandy@Compassdisability.org.uk or text 07568 109960.

For more information contact:

Annelise Cowie
External Communications Manager, Hinkley Point
01278 654535
07813 232385

EDF Energy in the South West

In the South West EDF Energy employs around 4,000 people across three key sites; at Hinkley Point in Somerset, at Barnwood, near Gloucester, and at Exeter. We operate Hinkley Point B power station, which employs around 550 staff and 220 contract partners. A new nuclear power station, capable of supplying around 5 million homes, is planned at Hinkley Point, subject to a final investment decision. We have an operational support centre at Barnwood, while Exeter is home to one of EDF Energy’s three UK-based call centres. As well as currently generating enough power for some 1.5 million homes in this region, EDF Energy also provides gas and electricity to 610,000 customers with over 20% of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products backed by low-carbon generation. We make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power some of the largest companies in the UK, including sites for the Ministry of Defence, Tesco Stores Limited, Morrisons and Everything Everywhere, right here in the South West.