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A team of 25 volunteers from npower’s Midland offices will be supporting the Indoor Disability Athletics tournament, a two day competition to be held at Birmingham's NIA which marks the first major championship of the 2009 athletics season for schools.

Around 320 young, disabled athletes from 40 schools across the West Midlands will be competing in the Indoor Disability Athletics tournament making the event one of the region's major competitions in the annual disability sports calendar.

npower has worked in partnership with the English Federation of Disability Sport for over ten years, providing sponsorship for a variety of sports and events - but it is the volunteering aspect that has resulted in the greatest level of satisfaction. Carol Harunt, a community involvement manager at npower , will be leading the volunteering team at the competition.

She explained: "We sponsor the annual EFDS Midlands Awards and we regularly attend Midland athletics meetings to give organisational help to young participants. We help with escorting athletes to their starting points and warm up exercises. It's always a fantastic day and once someone has volunteered, they invariably want to be involved again. It is both an enjoyable and awareness-raising experience."

In 2008, more than 1500 npower employees, around 13 per cent of the entire workforce, took part in volunteering tasks from creating wildlife habitats to decorating a local hospice ready for its Christmas festivities. The company encourages all employees to take time out of their working week to help put something back into their local communities.

Jacqui Gavin, npower's community involvement executive, helps coordinate the extensive volunteering programme, run in partnership with Community Service Volunteers (CSV). She believes volunteering is both good business sense and a benchmark for best practice, saying: "Employees have opportunities to develop their skills outside of the office environment and our research shows that 87 per cent of our volunteers felt more positive about the company after their experience and 81 per cent felt more motivated at work as a result of taking part in an activity. The fact that programmes involve local people means volunteers feel as though they are making a positive contribution to their community."

Sustained corporate support is invaluable to organisations like the EFDS, as Dennis Hodgkins, regional development manager, explained, "The partnership with npower has meant we can plan programmes and show real advances in the number of sports opportunities we can offer but it is the volunteering that is the lifeblood of development; without our volunteers, we would not be able to provide the number of events and cater for the demand there is within our community. I can't say often enough how important volunteers are to our organisation."

npower has recently been awarded a 'Silver Big Tick' by Business in the Community (BitC) for its npower Active programme.

About npower:

npower is one of Britain's largest electricity supplier and supplies gas, electricity and related services to 6.6 million customers across the UK. npower is a market leader in renewable energy and sources the green energy for juice directly from renewable sources, at no extra cost.

RWE npower has been awarded the prestigious CommunityMark from Business in the Community (BITC). npower is the only utility business, amongst 21 other companies in the UK, to receive this accolade. The CommunityMark is a new BITC standard which has been created to recognise companies that are good investors in local communities and who have brought about real and positive changes.

PR Contact:

Greg Phillimore
Account Director
McCann Erickson
Communications House
Highlands Road
West Midlands
B90 4WE
0121 713 3795

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