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Liberty Tearooms

16 June 22

Affinity Water and the Hertfordshire Community Foundation support The Liberty Tearooms and Community Hub in Hemel Hempstead

Affinity Water has donated £4,595.72 to the Liberty Tearooms and Community Hub in Hemel Hempstead to help run its debt advice clinic.

The grant was provided by Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF), who manage a charitable fund on behalf of Affinity Water Foundation. HCF was able to provide an additional grant from another charitable fund to bring the total of the grant to £5,000.

The Liberty Tea Rooms were set up five years ago by Kerry-Anne Cooper CEO and founder and her husband Owen Cooper co-founder and community development manager.

Mrs Cooper explained how a tragic suicide had led to the unique 1950s uplifting Glenn Miller vibe of the Liberty Tea rooms: “About six years ago we heard that someone seeking debt support had taken his own life. So really the Tea Rooms was born out of a tragic event but it has brought life to our community. We had to close during the Covid lock-downs but things are still going very, very, well now we are open again.”

Mr Cooper emphasised how important community support has been and his wife’s colourful imagination: “Kerry-Anne is the inspiration behind the colourful design of the Liberty Tea Rooms. It’s a very welcoming lively atmosphere and people are given a brown envelope in which they can choose to pay what they think appropriate for one of our teas or a drink. We run a debt counselling service called Christians Against Poverty with a centre manager, so anyone who has debt needs can get advice here. They can come and see us or email me or go onto our website to find out more. The community has backed us all the way and our volunteers from all walks of life support us, so we are really very blessed”.

Owen@LibertyTeaRooms.co.uk or www.LibertyTeaRooms.co.uk

Liz Freitas, Inclusive Services Engagement Manager, Affinity Water said: "We are pleased to work with Hertfordshire Community Foundation to support this wonderful project. We understand the importance of a community hub and are delighted to be able to support in this way. We know how important it is to seek debt advice early and to get the right advice according to individual needs. As the UK’s largest only water Company we are determined to reach out and help those seeking debt advice as we know the numbers needing help are growing as the cost of living rises.”

Find out more about Affinity Water’s various payment plans here: affinitywater.co.uk/struggling-to-pay

Christina Bird CAP Centre Manager said: “If someone is in need of debt advice they can phone our national debt advice helpline who will book them an appointment with a local debt coach. We meet them here first before going through all their financial information and story. We then recommend a route out of debt and a budget to live on until they are debt free. We support them until they are debt free, and then we invite them back to the Liberty Tea Rooms for a celebration and to ring the Liberty Bell. There is always an amazing reaction to that. The Affinity Water donation is very generous and will go towards helping with the costs of our casework. We are seeing a real rise in people coming to us for debt help and the numbers have doubled in the past year.”

The CAP number is: 0800 328 0006

Georgina Bawden, Grants Manager for Hertfordshire Community Foundation said: “Addressing need and deprivation through funding and support to small local charities is core to our work in Hertfordshire. We work with individuals, families and corporates who want to support their local community in an easy yet impactful way. We are pleased to have managed a charitable fund for Affinity Water for over 18 years and help them to support more than 26 local charities with grant funding. Affinity Water wanted to help with the cost of living, so we linked them up with the Liberty Team Rooms which is doing such good work with the CAP helping those in debt.”

Hertfordshire Community Foundation can be found here: hertscf.org.uk

To find out more about the Liberty Tea Rooms and the grant you can listen to a new Affinity Water podcast here: 

Our picture shows; from left to right: Owen Cooper co-founder and community development manager LTR; Kerry-Anne Cooper CEO and founder LTR; Liz Freitas Inclusive Services Engagement Manager Affinity Water; Christina Bird CAP Centre Manager; Georgina Bawden Grants Manager Hertfordshire Community Foundation; Helen Gray Director Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

For further information please contact Kevin Barton on: news@affinitywater.co.uk

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