Supporting our communities
We’re doing everything we can to support our communities and vulnerable customers during the pandemic. This includes our ‘In This Together- Community Matters’ fund to support the delivery of services to the most vulnerable in our communities during this difficult time, ranging from vital home delivery supplies to child education initiatives to befriending services. Our priority services are also imperative at this time.
Adapting our usual support
During normal operating conditions, we work with a wide network of community-based agencies to support those struggling to afford their energy bills.
In the last 12 months, we’ve helped more than 18,000 customers directly save a total of over £10.5 million.
In light of coronavirus, we have scaled up our existing customer support schemes. This has meant that over 50 organisations WPD typically works with to offer energy saving and tariff switching advice widened their support to include befriending services and actions such as delivering shopping and prescriptions to isolated and vulnerable people.
Alongside our community partners, we’re helping those who have been most affected by the crisis to access support and advice, including help with online shopping slots, food bank referrals and advice on energy payment schemes.
In This Together - Community Matters fund
We are stepping up to support communities affected by coronavirus
Through our £750,00 In This Together – Community Matters Fund, in total, we have supported 463 organisations across our region,directly benefitting over 500,000 people living in our communities.
We initially awarded £500,000 in grants from our In This Together – Community Fund to help communities across our region affected by Coronavirus and have topped up a further £250,000 to provide support during the pandemic.
The fund was launched to support community groups and organisations delivering urgent care and support to thousands of families across the region during these challenging times. The first round invited applications from charities, local hospitals, community groups, parish councils and local authorities for grants of up to £10,000 to help those directly affected by the pandemic.
The scheme received 586 applications – half in the last week – and was fully subscribed. In response to an urgent need for direct support, the funding was been split between 300 organisations across our geographic footprint. Between them they have helped deliver vital support and care to more than 400,000 people at the height of the lockdown.
A diverse range of groups have benefited from the funding, including established charities like foodbanks, hospitals, The Salvation Army, AGE UK and several hospices. In addition, a large number of community groups that formed specially to help their local communities through the pandemic have also benefitted including groups that are delivering food parcels, collecting prescriptions or offering online virtual support to those isolating.
The second round of funding, which closed on July 12, invited each of the 180 constituency MPs in our region to nominate charities and local groups that could benefit from a grant of up to £1,500. Grants have now been made to the nominated community groups, charities, faith groups and businesses that changed focus to help people during the pandemic.
Chief Executive Phil Swift said: “I am proud that we were able to step up and provide support at grassroots level. Most of our employees live in the communities they serve so it was important that we didn’t just write large cheques to one or two charities and walk away.
“Instead we reached out – and it has been heart-warming and humbling to read the applications we received from people who stepped up for their communities.”