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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

Click here to download our booklet on the ‘In This Together – Community Matters’ Fund.

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.”

Support across our regions - case studies

  • Age UK has received a grant to help support older people in Lincoln and South Lincolnshire during the coronavirus pandemic. The charity, which offers advice through a dedicated phone support line, assistance with shopping, collecting prescriptions and home cooked meals received a £5,000 grant.

    Michele Jolly, CEO from Age UK, said: “We really appreciate the donation from WPD, which will be fundamental in supporting us to continue to deliver food and essential supplies to vulnerable older  people across Lincoln & South Lincolnshire, and to support our befriending services, where staff and volunteers make wellbeing calls to those who are lonely and isolated.

    “Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire is adapting and innovating in these unprecedented times to support our existing customers as well as respond to new calls for help by providing services for those who need them the most.”

  • Home-Start Banbury, Bicester and Chipping Norton, a charity that supports young families with children under 5, has been awarded a £500 grant to support its work during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Louise Sansom, Grants & Trust Fundraiser at Home-Start Banbury, Bicester and Chipping Norton, said: “We are delighted and very grateful to receive the funding from WPD. During the Covid-19 crisis, our staff and volunteers are providing weekly telephone calls to support the emotional wellbeing of our supported families. The practical and emotional demands of parenthood are challenging enough in normal times, but the current pandemic adds so many additional layers of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation. We remain as committed as ever to supporting parents in the critical early years of childhood and we thank WPD for helping us to do this.”

  • The Hygiene Bank, a charity that provides essential hygiene products to those in need across Cornwall, has been awarded a £1,000 grant to support its work during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Ali Marsh, Project Coordinator at The Hygiene Bank, said: “We cannot thank WPD enough for its outstanding contribution to our work in Cornwall. The grant has allowed us to buy over 230kg of essential hygiene products which we have distributed to a number of local community projects, charities and the NHS in the area.

    “This will provide invaluable support for families who are locked in poverty or find themselves in times of crisis with restricted options and having to make impossible choices between heating their home, paying their rent, feeding their family or keeping clean.”

  • A foodbank charity in Rhymney Valley has been awarded a £400 grant to boost its supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Rev Leah Philbrick from the Rhymney Valley Foodbank, said: "Demand has more than doubled in the last month and a half compared to this time last year. With WPD’s support we have been able to stabilise our food supply as we begin to get a handle on what the new reality will look like for us in the coming months. This will not be a short-term response and the funding has enabled us to respond to current need and put food on the table of many individuals and families.”

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