Children in Need: Hatfield company manning the phones for BBC appeal

STAFF volunteers will be manning 35 phone lines at Veolia Water’s Hatfield headquarters tonight (Friday) to help raise cash for the BBC Children in Need appeal.

For the seventh year in a row, customer contact centre staff – more used to taking calls about water meters, bills or leaking pipes – will be giving up their evening to take cash pledges from the public from 6.30pm until half-past-midnight.

They will also be joined from staff involved in other parts of the business, including accountants, business managers and network technicians.

Each year Children in Need uses the call centres of organisations and businesses from around the country to boost the number of lines available for public donations, and there will be 55 companies participating tonight.

Ian Hankin, Veolia Water’s resources and planning manager, who organises the company’s operation on the night, said he was expecting a busy time:

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“We are proud to be involved with Children in Need and every year we have no shortage of volunteers taking part.

“On average, we expect to handle around 2,000 calls during the evening, and could be taking around �100,000 in total donations.

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“We always have the show running on all the large screens in the customer centre, so that we can see what’s going on and be prepared for any peaks in calls.

“Whenever the telephone number is shown on the TV, the calls go mad, but we also see peaks just before the ten o’clock news, and whenever a celebrity makes a personal appeal.”

This year Veolia is expecting to be handling pledges from the Gloucestershire area.

Staff will be sporting spotty clothing, in honour of Pudsey Bear, while having cake sales, quizzes and tombolas to boost the cash donations.

* HAVE you got anything planned for Children in Need today?

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