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Festive fund helps another 62,000 people through more than 400 local good causes

As we enter a festive season like no other, we are delighted to announce the allocation of all £250,000 of the Christmas extension to its ‘In This Together – Community Matters Fund’. The funding has supported a further 408 charities reach an estimated 62,750 people across the breadth of our region.

Our ‘In This Together – Community Matters Fund’ was first established in April 2020, just two weeks into the first national lockdown. Our latest round of support takes the funding for local communities beyond £1million, delivering much needed help to over half-a-million vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic.

Having received an overwhelming response to this latest fund extension – with over 1,000 applications in just two weeks – we prioritised donations to schemes that helped to provide warm meals and gifts for children, the elderly and vulnerable people over the festive period.

Phil Swift, Western Power Distribution CEO, said: “I’m incredibly proud that our quick response initiative to help those most affected by the effects of the pandemic has grown to become a £1 million donation, helping hundreds of charities in their work supporting communities and people living in vulnerable situations. Rather than write a one-off cheque, we wanted to take a different approach – one that mirrors our company’s community-first ethos and enables a much wider array of charity initiatives to do more at a time when it is most needed.”

From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, WPD staff have continued to work around the clock to keep the power flowing for its eight million customers across the Midlands, South West and Wales region. As well as delivering to essential sites including hospitals, factories and supermarkets, we know that reliable power to the domestic network has become incredibly important for those working, schooling, isolating and shielding in their homes.

Phil continued: “While life may be a little different at the moment, our aim remains the same – to deliver energy and support the millions of people living in the communities we serve, in particular people living in vulnerable situations. We’re all in this together – and I’m grateful that we have been able to reach so many charities, and the individuals they support, with much-needed funding this winter.”

A diverse range of good causes have benefited from the funding, including foodbanks and community centres, alongside established charities such as Age UK and the Salvation Army.

Muslim Forum
Wolverhampton Muslim Forum used the grant from WPD towards food for the elderly and stockings for children. Left to Right, Wolverhampton Muslim Forum Volunteer Waleed, Alvina (General Secretary), young Volunteers Falak & Tahoor, Mohammad Khalil (Chairman)

In Tipton, the Wolverhampton Muslim Forum was awarded £750. Alvina Ali, Wolves Forum Secretary, said: “We’re delighted to receive the grant from the festive ‘In This Together - Community Matters Fund’ to support our soup kitchen for the community of Wolverhampton. Covid19 has been a challenging time for many with people under severe pressure due to rising unemployment. Low income families and individuals have been hit the hardest so we want to make sure our vulnerable guests feel cared for.

“This money will help us to treat our guest list this Christmas to a festive bumper hamper and food for children who need it over the holidays. The children will also receive Christmas stockings full of goodies which will accompany our cooked food packs and non- perishables. Families and children will get a healthy meal, activities and learning opportunities through our surprise stockings. I can’t wait to see their expressions, it will be priceless.”

Two children sitting in front of christmas tree with gifts
WPD funding helped Somerset based Ups and Downs distribute Christmas gifts to local children.

In Somerset, Ups and Downs charity received a £300 grant. Fundraising and Public Relations Officer Michelle Sugg, said: "We were delighted to be awarded a grant from WPD’s festive 'In This Together- Community Matters Fund'. It allowed us to gift and deliver presents to children/young people with Down Syndrome, in the south west, and spread a little Christmas joy. The feedback has been amazing.”

All groups that received grants have formed or pivoted specially to support people within their local communities who are isolated, alone or vulnerable during the pandemic.

Phil Swift concluded: “It’s humbling to see how just much valuable work goes on in the community to help those in need. A long year of social restrictions, economic hardship, isolation and mental strain have taken its toll on friends, neighbours and vulnerable people across our network, and we are enormously proud that our contribution has made a difference to so many of those individuals. While festivities are likely to be different for us all this year, we remain hopeful for a brighter year ahead.”

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