Drax donates essential supplies to support York’s homeless

Drax Power Station has donated hundreds of items of bedding and towels to local homeless shelter Changing Lives York.

Phil Barnes, James Ford and Rich Grainger from Changing Lives York, Stuart Rodd and Andy Westley from the Drax facilities team in front of the Union Terrace homeless shelter in York

During an annual maintenance outage at Drax Power Station, covid restrictions meant the energy company needed to provide on-site ‘sleep pods’ for the workers to use between shifts in order to keep everyone safe and the work on track.

A number of items for the sleep pods went unused and so the power station’s facilities team arranged for them to be donated to Changing Lives York, which helps ex-rough sleepers and those at risk of sleeping rough, many of whom suffer from complex issues.

James Ford, Service Manager at Changing Lives York, said:

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the support we are able to offer residents. The lockdown has reduced our ability to provide certain specialist services, at a time when even more people are vulnerable and struggling. 

“Donations of essential items like bedding and towels are vital to keep our costs down and provide residents with a good quality living environment. Drax’s donation will be shared between our men’s and women’s homeless shelters as well as two other hostels in York.”

The donation from Drax included over 180 duvets and 100 towels.

Bruce Heppenstall, Plant Director, said:

“I hope the donation of these items will help the residents at Changing Lives York feel more comfortable this winter. Drax has a long history of supporting local charities and it is important that we continue to do so especially at the moment.

“Many charities are struggling from the ongoing effects of the pandemic, which is impacting their ability to fundraise and provide services to vulnerable people.”

Changing Lives York offers residents not only a place to stay but also the chance to make positive changes in their lives through one-on-one support and purposeful activities, helping to prepare people to move on to the next stage of York’s re-housing network and eventually an independent life.

During the Covid pandemic, Drax has supported the communities it operates in through a number of initiatives, including donating over 850 laptops with internet access to schoolchildren across Britain who were unable to learn from home, supplying free energy to 170 care homes and backing a business debtline to offer support for small businesses.


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Editor’s Notes

The donation from Drax to Changing Lives York included:

  • 185 duvets
  • 220 sheets
  • 60 pillows
  • 30 mattress toppers
  • 8 mattress protectors
  • 100 towels

The unprecedented challenges of this year have prompted Drax to offer more support to help the people and communities local to its operations:

  • In February, the River Aire burst its banks, causing severe flooding in Snaith and other villages near the power station. Drax donated £25,000 for flood victims to boost the community support efforts.
  • In March, the first Covid lockdown started and Drax invested £250,000 to deliver 853 laptops to 45 schools local to its operations across the UK, each with three months of pre-paid internet access. This included hundreds of laptops for students in Yorkshire – helping to ensure no-one fell behind in their learning during the lockdown.
  • Virtual tours of the power station and work experience were also created to ensure Drax could provide continued support for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills and education.
  • £236,000 worth of free electricity and gas was also given to 170 small care homessupplied with energy by Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax’s energy supply brands – a number of which were in Yorkshire and the Humber region.

Image Caption: Phil Barnes, James Ford and Rich Grainger from Changing Lives York, Stuart Rodd and Andy Westley from the Drax facilities team in front of the Union Terrace homeless shelter in York

About Changing Lives York

  • Changing Lives York supports ex-rough sleepers and those at risk of sleeping rough – most of whom have complex issues primarily connected with drug and alcohol misuse and mental ill-health.
  • Their work is aimed at reconnecting residents with the opportunities that life offers and encouraging them to embrace and maximise them. They do this through keyworking support, plus a broad range of purposeful activity options. This prepares people to move on through York’s co-ordinated multi-agency re-settlement network and onto an independent life.
  • The service has 35 bedrooms, meeting and counselling spaces as well as education, health, fitness and community facilities. This welcoming and inspirational space offers residents not only a place to stay but also the chance to make positive changes in their lives.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology.

Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.

Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.  It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.


Through its two B2B energy supply brands, Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax supplies energy to 250,000 businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.

Pellet production:

Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.

For more information visit www.drax.com