Anglian Water turns on the tap with £1million fund for local communities

Anglian Water turns on the tap with £1million fund for local communities
• £1million Positive Difference Fund created to support local community organisations
• New fund doubles the £1m already available to customers through the Anglian Water Assistance Fund
• Builds on massive Extra Care direct support package assisting families financially hit by COVID-19
• Supply chain deals and enhanced payment terms keep thousands more in employment as key workers
• Company will kick-start a fund to help employees and their families facing financial hardship
• Restates commitment to workforce, continues with apprentice recruitment, honours all existing job offers

Communities in the Anglian Water region are to receive a cash boost to fight the impacts of Coronavirus as the water company’s owners backed plans to establish a new £1 million community support fund.

The Anglian Water Positive Difference Fund will be distributed through a locally appointed partner which has expertise in getting money quickly to areas in which it is most needed.

Fifty per cent of the fund will immediately be made available to support community organisations on the front line of the battle against coronavirus, with a further fifty per cent released to meet emerging needs later in the year.

Organisations like food banks, outreach programmes and those helping the most vulnerable will be supported by the Positive Difference Fund.

Direct support for customers
The water company, which looks after around six million customers and the largest region in England and Wales, has already stepped up its efforts to directly support customers. The new £1million Positive Difference Fund is in addition to an existing £1million Assistance Fund that customers who struggle to pay may be able to take advantage of.

Other support, available under the company’s Extra Care banner, includes discounted tariffs alongside flexible and affordable payment schemes. More than 300,000 customers each year are already helped this way.

The company also helps customers identify if they may be eligible for benefits they are not claiming. Anglian Water has already signposted customers to a potential £4.5m of unclaimed aid, with the average amount that customers may be entitled to exceeding the cost of the average water bill.

It is currently adding customers to its Priority Services Register faster than ever before, meaning they will get tailored help and special assistance should they need it.

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

“As key workers we’ve so far been able to keep all our colleagues employed, and we’ll do everything we can to maintain that. We know many thousands will not be so fortunate, and we sincerely hope this fund can go some way to helping them.

“The Positive Difference Fund may be new, but our desire to protect and improve the region we serve is not. We can clearly see it has never been more important for companies like ours to step up, so that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.”

Looking after colleagues
The company has restated its commitment to its workforce:
• It will continue with its Apprenticeship recruitment programme, arranging virtual interviews, resulting in 80 jobs being offered to start in October
• All existing job offers and start dates will be honoured and full salaries paid, even if new employees are not yet able to start work
• A one-off flat-fee payment to all colleagues will still be paid later this year
• A fund to support colleagues in financial hardship will be brought forward later this month
• The company is offering employees flexibility where they are supporting vulnerable family members, without any risk to their salary
• Casual or Fixed Term Contracts that are due to end have been extended to May 31st, giving these workers an additional buffer

Backup for the supply chain
Peter continued: “We employ around five thousand people, but more than double that number work in our supply chain. We’re doing all we can to extend our support to that workforce too, as we know how much we will need them when we emerge from the pandemic.”

Steps taken to support the supply chain include:
• Reducing the time taken to make payments, releasing more than £5million in March alone
• Helping to support and advise many small and medium-size suppliers with access to advanced procurement opportunities
• Supporting staff within some supply chain companies who have been hit with pay reductions by their employer

Peter said: “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.”

Details of how to apply for support from the Anglian Water Positive Difference Fund will be released shortly. Any customer who has difficulty paying their bill should contact the company as soon as possible on 0800 169 3630.
 

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