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20 April 20

Fast funds for communities during coronavirus

Affinity Water has teamed up with seven other utility networks to give a £500,000 boost to local community foundations during the coronavirus pandemic. 

UK Power Networks, Affinity Water, SGN, Southern Water, Thames Water, Anglian 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, are working hard to ensure the country keeps going during these unprecedented times.  

Working together, they 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 Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Luton, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Essex, Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, Sussex, London, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Swindon, Dorset, Scotland, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Milton Keynes. Last year, community foundations supported over 16,600 community organisations and charities.
 
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.”

Affinity Water’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Communications and Communities, Jake Rigg said: “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with our regional partners across the industry to support the great work of community foundations and help the most vulnerable in our communities. 

“These are unprecedented and challenging times for everyone and many people will be affected financially by the impacts of Coronavirus. I’ve been self-employed or have ran my own small business through a lot of my career and I know how stressful that can be even in normal times. We have a number of ways we can help those who need financial support and so far we’ve helped over 2,100 customers get the financial support they need.  We also urge anyone with existing health issues who is not already registered for our priority services to register now so that we can provide additional support where needed.

For more information on how we can help, visit www.affinitywater.co.uk/corona-virus

Rosemary Macdonald, Interim CEO of UK Community Foundations, added: “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.

•    UK Power Networks www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority, 0800 169 9970,  psr@ukpowernetworks.co.uk
•    Affinity Water www.affinitywater.co.uk/priorityservices or by calling 0345 357 2406
•    Anglian Water www.anglianwater.co.uk/priority-service  03457 919 155 or use Anglian Water’s MyApp
•    Southern Water www.southernwater.co.uk/account/extra-help-and-support or email cs_affordabilityteam@southernwater.co.uk
•    Thames Water Thames Water www.thameswater.co.uk/priorityservices  
•    South East Water www.southeastwater.co.uk/priority, 0333 000 2468,
•    SES Water www.seswater.co.uk

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.

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