Communities in the Anglian Water region are to receive a cash boost to fight the impacts of Coronavirus as the water company’s owners backed plans to establish a new £1 million community support fund.
The Anglian Water Positive Difference Fund will be distributed through a locally appointed partner which has expertise in getting money quickly to areas in which it is most needed.
Fifty per cent of the fund will immediately be made available to support community organisations on the front line of the battle against coronavirus, with a further fifty per cent released to meet emerging needs later in the year.
Organisations like food banks, outreach programmes and those helping the most vulnerable will be supported by the Positive Difference Fund.
Direct support for customers
The water company, which looks after around six million customers and the largest region in England and Wales, has already stepped up its efforts to directly support customers. The new £1million Positive Difference Fund is in addition to an existing £1million Assistance Fund that customers who struggle to pay may be able to take advantage of.
Other support, available under the company’s Extra Care banner, includes discounted tariffs alongside flexible and affordable payment schemes. More than 300,000 customers each year are already helped this way.
The company also helps customers identify if they may be eligible for benefits they are not claiming. Anglian Water has already signposted customers to a potential £4.5m of unclaimed aid, with the average amount that customers may be entitled to exceeding the cost of the average water bill.
It is currently adding customers to its Priority Services Register faster than ever before, meaning they will get tailored help and special assistance should they need it.
Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s Chief Executive, said: “This business is built on the communities it serves, so it’s absolutely right we extend our support back to them during this time of need.
“As key workers we’ve so far been able to keep all our colleagues employed, and we’ll do everything we can to maintain that. We know many thousands will not be so fortunate, and we sincerely hope this fund can go some way to helping them.
“The Positive Difference Fund may be new, but our desire to protect and improve the region we serve is not. We can clearly see it has never been more important for companies like ours to step up, so that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.”
Looking after colleagues
The company has restated its commitment to its workforce:
Backup for the supply chain
Peter continued: “We employ around five thousand people, but more than double that number work in our supply chain. We’re doing all we can to extend our support to that workforce too, as we know how much we will need them when we emerge from the pandemic.”
Steps taken to support the supply chain include:
Peter said: “I’ve been humbled by the sometimes heroic efforts of both the Anglian Water workforce, and those all across the region we look after, as they simply try to keep our networks running and our communities safe. We will continue to do all we can to support them.”
Details of how to apply for support from the Anglian Water Positive Difference Fund will be released shortly. Any customer who has difficulty paying their bill should contact the company as soon as possible on 0800 169 3630.