Anglian Water funding pot already helping thousands of customers across the East
07 August 2020
In April, Anglian Water launched a £1 million community support fund to provide a cash boost for local communities fighting the impacts of Coronavirus.
Since then, over £300,000 has already been allocated via 15 local Community Foundations, benefiting more than 80,000 individuals most in need across the East of England, with more being allocated every day.
Grants of up to £5,000 have been made available to local charities who are supporting communities during the continuing threat of coronavirus. Organisations like food banks, outreach programmes and those helping the most vulnerable have been applying for support from the Positive Difference Fund to help those shielding or suffering from financial hardship, homelessness, loneliness and isolation.
Half of Anglian’s Positive Difference Fund has been made available initially, the remaining half will be released later in the year to meet emerging needs resulting from the pandemic.
Specific examples from across the Anglia region have included:
The Samaritans of Grantham, have already helped over 2,000 people through the provision of emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide through their telephone helpline. The funding has allowed the Grantham branch to increase their capacity of volunteers to take more calls throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Green Light Trust in Bury St Edmunds, provide health, welfare and learning opportunities for people in the natural environment. Their focus is on young people disadvantaged by disability, social circumstance or isolated through health-related issues; and adults with needs such as drug and alcohol recovery or mental health issues. The funding has helped the organisation move their ‘natural environment’ programme online so they can provide free access to interactive video sessions, which include an online lunch, a nature walks and lessons as well as craft activities for participants. So far, the scheme has helped over 200 people.
Over 1000 people have already received help from Autism Bedfordshire, whose services help break down the barriers to social participation for autistic people and their families by providing places where they can go and feel comfortable, accepted and not judged by society.
Over in Peterborough, Peterborough Asylum and Refugee Community Association (PARCA) has already helped over 300 people. PARCA is Greater Peterborough and the surrounding areas go-to community hub for asylum seekers, refugees and people in need. Operating from a community building in multi-racial Peterborough's most ethnically diverse, socially disadvantaged and income deprived neighbourhood, PARCA offering offer advice, information and guidance on issues such as: welfare, employment, accommodation, education and training.
The Lewis Foundation were able to purchase a new printer which allowed the organisation to continue to source, package and hand deliver free gifts and support packs to adult cancer patients in hospital every week – items they might find difficult to buy themselves or simply cannot afford. It can be a sad, frightening and lonely experience for individuals undergoing cancer treatment, and for many people in hospital, and The Lewis Foundation volunteers are sometimes their only regular visitors.
Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s Chief Executive, said: “I’m extremely proud that, as one of the biggest businesses in the East of England, we’ve been able to offer support to local communities as they tackle the challenges faced as a result of the pandemic.
“As an essential service, our role first and foremost is to keep taps running and toilets flushing. But we know we have a bigger role beyond that in helping the communities we serve. Because of the nature of our work we were able to avoid furloughing any colleagues, but responding to COVID-19 is about looking after the wider community as well as those we work with. We know many thousands will be facing significant difficulty, and we hope this fund has gone some way to helping them."
Rosemary Macdonald, CEO of UK Community Foundations, said: “This funding has and will continue to make a huge impact in the communities that Anglian Water serves. The 15 community foundations involved will ensure that Anglian Water’s extraordinary donation continues to support the local charities best placed to help people experiencing hardship. As we move forward, partnerships like these will be ever more important.”