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Lockdown emergency funds help clubs and charities

Wednesday 3rd June 2020 10:11

sailing boats on a reservoir under cloudy skies

Sailing boats at Farmoor Reservoir near Oxford

Thames Water has set up a new relief fund to provide financial support to its community partners during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company is donating £400,000 to community organisations and charities it works with to help them pay business costs resulting from loss of income, such as fundraising opportunities, during this difficult time. The fund will be open for applications of up to £20,000, with a closing date of June 30. 

Thames Water has also allocated £100,000 for the Rivers and Wetlands Community Days project, managed by the Wild Trout Trust. The project provides small grants to encourage communities to get practically involved in restoring, improving and maintaining rivers, lakes, wetlands and the environment.

Thames Water has provided funding and assistance worth £6.5 million in total, to 62 community projects in the Thames Valley area over the past five years (2015-2020). 

The projects have helped to protect and enhance wetland habitats, improved community access to cycle paths, improved flood defences and funded education programmes for school children. 

Richard Aylard, Thames Water sustainability director, said: “Our work at Thames Water goes beyond providing essential water and wastewater services. We’re proud of our association with these organisations, which have done so much to enhance their communities and the natural environment.

“We care about the communities within which we all live and work, and we want to support them during this challenging and uncertain time. By providing relief funding to our fantastic community partners, we’re ensuring they can continue making a positive difference to the local communities and customers we serve.”

Thames Water has also provided financial support, worth £192,000, to 43 not-for-profit organisations and recreational leaseholders in London and the Thames Valley, to help them with their running costs during this difficult time.

The company owns various buildings and grounds which house sports and social clubs. These include cricket clubs, sailing and football clubs, amateur boxing studios and scout groups.

Adrian Howe, OSC commodore and sail training principal at Oxford Sailing Club, said: “At Oxford Sailing Club we are extremely grateful to our landlords Thames Water for all the practical help they are giving us during these difficult times. The water sports opportunities provided by the sailing club are very important for everybody’s mental and physical health and being on or near water has many proven benefits. Because of the generosity of Thames Water actively supporting the club, our members will continue to enjoy some of the best inland sailing in the county.” 

Thames Water has signed the COVID-19 Business Pledge, which encourages businesses and universities to be a force for good by making a commitment to doing what they can to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The financial support for leaseholders and the community relief fund are part of the company’s wider support for communities and customers who are coping with the coronavirus outbreak.

Thames Water is donating £1 million to its Trust Fund and extending its WaterHelp social tariff, so it can support more customers who are in financial need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has also donated £40,000 to local community foundations during the coronavirus pandemic. Wiltshire Community Foundation received £7,500 from Thames Water, which it is using to support local charities and groups during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Fiona Oliver, interim co-chief executive at Wiltshire Community Foundation, said: “We are so incredibly grateful to Thames Water who have given so generously to our Wiltshire and Swindon Coronavirus Response Fund, which has now raised £600,000 and already distributed more than £350,000 to more than 100 voluntary groups.  The sense of community shown by Thames Water matches the hard work and dedication of the thousands of volunteers who have stepped up to help keep their neighbourhoods safe, fed and connected during this crisis and we thank them.”