Eight utility companies offer £500k COVID-19 funding to communities

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EIGHT utility networks have come together to give a £500,000 boost to local Community Foundations across the south of England and Scotland during the coronavirus pandemic.

Working together, the companies have quickly provided funding for local Community Foundations to boost community resilience on the frontline.

Dubbed the Utility Networks Partnership, the partnership consists of SGN, UK Power Networks, Southern Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, Affinity Water, SES Water and South East Water.

Kerry Potter, UK Power Networks’ Consumer Vulnerability Manager, who chairs the Utility Networks Partnership, commented on the announcement: “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.”

Their donations made by the companies support local foodbanks, volunteer centres, food delivery services and outreach programmes for those at risk of isolation.

Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s Chief Executive, commented: “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.”

Jake Rigg, Affinity Water’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Communications and Communities commented: “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.”

Tanya Sephton, Customer Services Director at South East Water, added: “I’m pleased that we have been able to lend a helping hand to those in our communities that need it most.

“This vital funding will go a long way towards protecting vulnerable customers during these troubling times.

“We will continue to do everything we can to help our communities while ensuring everyone has access to wholesome drinking water.”

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.

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