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Half a million people directly benefit from our Covid-19 fund

Since the start of the pandemic, we havekept our focus on keeping the power flowing to homes, businesses and essential services, and also provided vital funds to support local communities across our region.

In quick response to the lockdown announcement, we set up our ‘In This Together – Community Matters’ fund, and in the space of a few months, awarded £750,000 in grants from to help those affected by coronavirus.

The fund was set up in early April and was launched to support community groups and organisations delivering urgent care and support to thousands of families across the region during these challenging times. It 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. By the end of May, 300 organisations received £500,000 of support.

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.

One of the charities that benefited was the University Hospitals Birmingham charity, which received £10,000 to help Covid-19 patients stay connected with family and friends while on isolated wards using smart devices, as well as gaining extra essential supplies for NHS frontline workers. Charlotte Schofield, Director of Fundraising at University Hospitals Birmingham Charity, said: “On behalf of the 20,000 members of staff across University Hospitals Birmingham I would like to thanks Western Power Distribution for this incredibly generous donation to help us to support our NHS Superheroes at this really challenging time. The donation from Western Power Distribution will help us to provide important supplies for our staff members to help them to keep going during their long shifts. Our patients will benefit greatly through this donation. One of the sad impacts of the pandemic is that our patients cannot receive visitors, greatly increasing feelings of isolation and loneliness. The smart tablets will provide our patients with a way of communicating with their loved ones.”

The fund was then extended in June by a further £250,000 but this time we chose to invite the 181 MPs whose constituencies are in our operational area to nominate local causes. A fund of £1,500 was made available to each MP, with 92 nominating good causes.

One of the MP’s who got involved was David TC Davies, MP for Monmouth. He said: “When I heard about WPD’s generous offer to help local charities I immediately thought of the Nevill Hall Crèche Association. They have done a brilliant job providing childcare to the children of NHS staff and are well worth supporting. This is a fabulous gesture has meant that they can continue looking after those in the community who have been looking after us".

In total, 463 organisations have received funding, which is estimated to have directly benefited over 500,000 people.

WPD Chief Executive Phil Swift said: “As well as keeping the lights on, we recognise that we have a crucial role in supporting the communities we serve during these incredibly difficult times. I’m delighted that through our £750,000 ‘In This Together – Community Matters’ fund, WPD has been at the heart of supporting its communities and in particular people living in vulnerable situations.

“At the same time, we have also scaled up our existing customer support schemes which, during normal times, support people impacted by fuel poverty and living in cold homes. 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 undertaking additional actions such as delivering shopping and prescriptions to isolated and vulnerable people.”

You can find more about the ‘In This Together – Community Matters’ fund here.

Our support has helped the likes of Age UK Plymouth and Home-Start Banbury during the most challenging of times.

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