Anglian Water is one of eight utility networks who have teamed up to give a £500,000 boost to local community foundations during the coronavirus pandemic.
The water company alongside UK Power Networks, SGN, Southern Water, Thames Water, Affinity Water, SES Water and South East Water, are collaborating on a regional initiative looking out for their local communities as part of their ongoing work to help people living in vulnerable circumstances.
The firms that keep the lights on, taps running and gas flowing, employ thousands of key workers to maintain reliable supplies, who are working hard to ensure the country keeps going during these unprecedented times.
Anglian Water 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 company’s new £1million Positive Difference Fund was launched last week, with the first tranche of funding donated through the Utility Networks Partnership to local organisations most in need.
Working together, the Partnership are supporting local community foundations to make sure funding quickly gets to the frontline, where it can make the most impact in boosting community resilience, including local foodbanks, volunteer centres, food delivery services and outreach programmes for those at risk of isolation.
The rapid funding will reach local charities supported by community foundations across Bedfordshire and Luton, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Essex, Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, Sussex, London, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Swindon, Dorset, Scotland, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Milton Keynes. Last year community foundations supported over 16,600 community organisations and charities.
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.
“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.”
Kerry Potter, consumer vulnerability manager, who chairs the Utility Networks Partnership, said: “In this difficult time for the communities we serve, this is one way we can provide practical help and support to make a real difference to the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities. We are proud to work with our regional partners in the industry to support the community foundations, through this fund we are ensuring individuals suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak are helped.”
Rosemary Macdonald, Interim CEO of UK Community Foundations, said: “This extraordinarily generous donation will enable community foundations to reach the people who most need assistance throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Each community foundation has an in-depth understanding of their local area, what the priority needs are and how best to address these issues, so they can ensure the funding goes where it is most needed and can make the most impact.”
People who may need free extra support in the rare event of an electricity, gas or water outage can join confidential Priority Service Registers. Pensioners, parents with children under five, disabled people, hearing and sight-impaired residents, people with dementia, the chronically ill, those using medical equipment powered by electricity at home, can all benefit from free extra support by joining the registers. For details on how to join, check below:
Anyone facing difficulties with their utility costs at this time is urged to contact their energy and water companies, which can explain the financial vulnerability programmes they have in place to support their customers.
You can find your local community foundation through UK Community Foundations - https://www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-network.