How offshore wind is supporting Norfolk‘s COVID-19 response

Teams from the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farms, operated by Equinor from bases in Norfolk, are involved in activities to help Norfolk‘s Covid-19 response

Senior Supply Chain Executive Charlotte Monsey's
children helping mum out with NHS support

As Equinor employees continue to work to generate renewable electricity at the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farms off the Norfolk coast, the projects and their employees are also supporting activities to help Norfolk’s Covid-19 response.

Charlotte Monsey is the Senior Supply Chain Consultant at Sheringham Shoal, and has been fundraising for the NHS’s paediatric units for many years. With Covid-19 straining many everyday aspects of NHS life, Charlotte has been sewing wash bags for key workers to store and wash their uniforms securely at the end of their shift, along with ‘ear savers’ to protect their ears from wearing masks over a long period of time.

“The NHS holds a very big piece of my heart having saved my daughter’ life twice and ensuring she was able to live as ‘normal a life’ as possible while continuously providing her with care over the last six years,” said Charlotte.

“We have done a lot of fundraising over the last years to support the NHS, raising over £80,000 for the paediatric units. Now, finding ourselves in the extremely vulnerable category, it‘s been hard to find ways to help from a distance.

That is why we decided to help with wash bags and ‘ear savers’. So far we have made 40 bags and 40 ‘ear savers’ and we intend to keep going until there is no further demand for them.”

Equinor teams are not only supporting the response onshore, the fundraising continues out at sea. As an offshore coordinator at Dudgeon offshore wind farm, Lee Ellis spends two weeks at a time living on a Service Operations Vessel, around 40km off the Norfolk coast. He raised over £1300 for NHS Charities Together by shaving his head, into a mohawk, or covhawk as he likes to call it.

Lee said: “What started out as a joke between friends about “dodgy” self-haircuts during Covid-19, rapidly developed into challenging my shift colleagues to sponsor me as a bit of fun. Amazingly they pledged to raise around £500 pounds on their own. I was encouraged to open the sponsorship invitation to all on the Dudgeon site, and raise further awareness across a couple of the company Yammer groups, as well as my own social media, setting an optimistically hopeful target of £1000.”

Equinor offshore coordinator Lee Ellis shaving his head
40km out to sea to raise money for charity

Lee shaved his hair aboard the “Esvagt Njord” Service Operations Vessel, cheered on by as many of the techs who could get to see whilst maintaining social distancing.

“The response to the event was fantastic”, he continued, “and the target was absolutely smashed within 48hrs, with donations coming in from all corners of the Equinor network. I was completely blown away by the incredibly generous support from everyone who got involved, and I just can’t thank everyone enough.”

The final total raised was £1330, and with gift aid added, around £1600 pounds was given to “NHS Charities Together”, for them to use in supporting NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients.

One month on, and Lee is still maintaining the covhawk.

“I intend to keep it going until lockdown is finally lifted”, he said, “although, much to my wife’s disgust, I’ve actually become quite accustomed to it!”

Both the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farms operate Community Funds, which are administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation. Together these Funds provide some £200,000 per annum in grants for community projects and STEM education initiatives across Norfolk.

In total, over £1million has been donated to community projects across the region.

In 2018, one element of a grant from the Dudgeon Community Fund to Neatherd High School in Dereham, Norfolk was used to purchase 3D printers for its Design School initiative. At the time, Jason Chapman, the School’s Head of Design Technology, said:

“It would have been impossible to fund this initiative from internal resources, so my colleagues and my colleagues and I are extremely grateful to the Dudgeon Community Fund for this grant.”

Now these 3D printers are being used by those students still in school to produce PPE Visors for NHS staff, many of whom are the parents of these students.

These Community Funds have allocated some of their 2020 grant funding to support the Norfolk Covid-19 Community Response being operated by the Norfolk Community Foundation to provide grants to many charities and voluntary organisations delivering a wide range of pandemic support initiatives across Norfolk.

On top of the existing community funds, Equinor has made an additional contribution to the Norfolk Community Foundation following the outbreak of Covid-19. The company has supported local charities in the areas in which it operates, as well as a nationwide donation to the National Emergencies Trust.

For further information please contact:

Juliette Sanders
Equinor UK
T: 07771 918009
M: 07860 206565

Issue date: 22-06-20