British Gas: A Job Well Done.

OXFORD call centre volunteers helped boost the Children In Need coffers by more than £100,000.


British Gas staff manned the phones at their call centre at the Oxford Business Park South, in Cowley, on Friday night to collect charity donations via the Children In Need hotline for the first time this year. Callers pledged £122,296 in the five hours, including one single donation of £5,000. Staff also raised thousands of pounds dressing up for work in their pyjamas and taking part in a sponsored cross-dressing football match and chest waxing. Leena Patel, employee engagement officer at British Gas, said: "It was amazing and so surprising to find people being so generous.


"We had children phone up offering their pocket money and we had to explain they must go to the bank to do it.


"Then we had the other end of the extreme when a guy phoned up and donated £5,000.


"It is just amazing how many different people phoned up to pledge money.


"The office was so busy and so noisy.


"I have never seen the office like that.


"It was the first time we have been a Children In Need call centre.


"We have done Sport Relief and Comic Relief before, but Children In Need is bigger."


About 170 members of staff, including managing director Kanat Emiroglu, were joined by friends and family members volunteering to take the calls. Mrs Patel added: "To get £122,000 is staggering as it is almost double what we would normally receive for Sport Relief and Comic Relief." Nationally, 3,000 volunteers at 52 call centres, including Oxford, took 200,000 calls during the night. The Children In Need campaign had raised £19m by the time the live BBC1 television show presented by Terry Wogan and Tess Daly finished. The star-studded telethon featured appearances by Dr Who and the cast of EastEnders. In Oxfordshire two nursery school nurses sat in baths of custard, rugby players had their chests waxed and children from Woodstock covered themselves in Pudsey-style spots.

24th November, 2009

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