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Delivering festive cheer to the East End’s elderly

Thursday 10th December 2020 08:01

Thames Water volunteers with winter care packages for the elderly in London

L-R Thames Water volunteers Jane Cripps, Ray Lagden, Dave Mclaren, Christian Squibb and Jackie Westgate

Winter care packages are being distributed to vulnerable elderly people in the East End of London after Thames Water teamed up with a community foundation working to tackle poverty in some of the capital’s most deprived areas.

Five water company volunteers joined members of the East End Community Foundation (EECF) and others to pack toiletries, treats and other items which will be given to more than 1,600 residents in time for Christmas.

Thames Water contributed £1,000 towards the cost of the packages, which follows a £10,000 donation from the company in May to support the foundation’s coronavirus emergency appeal.

The packages contain a range of items from chocolates, soup, a puzzle book and a fleece blanket, to hand cream, hand sanitizer and shower gel.

Claire Iredale, Thames Water’s charities and volunteering co-ordinator, said: “We’re committed to supporting customers who may be struggling during these difficult times.

“During the national lockdown we kept Walthamstow Wetlands open and safe, and now we’re delighted to be supporting the East End Community Foundation – a fantastic group helping some of London’s most vulnerable residents – as they aim to bring a bit of festive cheer to those who need it most.”

Focused on London’s most deprived boroughs, the EECF is dedicated to tackling poverty in Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney, as well as the City of London.

For the past 30 years it has been awarding grants using income from its own permanent endowment and managing charitable donations on behalf of companies, individuals, other grant makers and government.

Tracey Walsh, chief executive of the EECF, said: “We’re really grateful for the support of Thames Water for our 2020 Winter Appeal, both in terms of their donation and the team of volunteers they sent to help with bag packing.

“The commitment Thames Water have to supporting local communities through their corporate social responsibility projects and charitable giving is much needed in the East End and will have a great impact.”

To further support customers this year, Thames Water has donated £730,000 to its trust fund to help people with debt advice, supported 33,000 extra customers through its WaterHelp social tariff which gives them 50 per cent off their water bill and distributed £1.7m in grants to help those with water bill debt.

It also runs a free Priority Services Register for customers with long-term health conditions, mobility issues or qualify for a state pension who receive a delivery of bottled water to their homes should their supply ever be interrupted.

Walthamstow Wetlands had more than 425,000 visits between April and October, a 120 per cent increase on the previous year.