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Thames Water announces partnership with national disability charity Sense to help more customers with complex needs

Monday 10th January 2022 12:55

  • Thames Water’s priority services register helps customers who need extra support during a supply interruption and provides tailored communications
  • Partnership to help raise awareness of the extra support the business can give to up to 3000 customers who live with complex disabilities in its region 
  • Thames Water continues to improve accessibility for its customers by launching SignVideo, which provides instant access to British Sign Language interpreting for customers to communicate with the company’s employees.

Thames Water and national disability charity Sense are launching a partnership to encourage those customers and families of people with complex disabilities to join Thames Water’s priority services register.

Sense will signpost its London and Thames Valley based community to Thames Water’s priority services and sharing information about the register via its communications platforms such as its social media and website and through its charity shops. 

The two organisations have worked with Eva and Daisy, who are supported by Sense, on a video to raise awareness of the register. The campaign highlights how the PSR can help customers who need tailored communications such as large print bills or extra support during a supply interruption.

Daisy said: “Water is one of the most important things that we rely on and is important to us as a family. Belonging to the Priority Service with Thames Water gives us a great peace of mind that if we had any difficulties with our water supply, they’re prioritising us. Because of our individual needs we feel like we’re recognised, valued and cared for.

“It was easy to sign up to the service and a straightforward, friendly chat with the person at the end of the phone. We would recommend other families who have anybody disabled in their family to sign up. It will help make your life easier and when you have a water emergency - it’s one less thing to worry about.”

Warren Buckley, Thames Water Retail Director, said: “Working with Sense means we can raise awareness of the priority services register and its benefits to families and individuals that might need more help in the way we communicate with them or if there is an issue with their water supply. I’m incredibly proud of this partnership, which will help more customers and families of customers who have complex needs.”

Richard Kramer, Chief Executive of Sense, said: “Sense is proud to be working with Thames Water to help more people with complex disabilities get the support they need in case of a water supply disruption. It’s vital that no one is left out of life and that barriers to communication are removed - it’s great to be working on this together with Thames Water.” 

Thames Water believes there are up to 3000 customers living with complex disabilities in its region, who could benefit from the PSR’s extra support.

How the PSR can support you

During a supply interruption PSR customers are contacted by Thames Water’s care team for bottled water deliveries directly to their homes if they are unable to get to a collection hub. The system also gives them advanced warning of planned work which may risk an interruption to their water supply, helping customer to prepare or make alternative arrangements for themselves or their families. The service also provides tailored communication services such as bills in large print, audio, or braille.

Thames Water is continuing to improve accessibility for its customers and launched SignVideo on its website on January 4. The service provides instant access to British Sign Language interpreting for customers to communicate with the company’s employees.

In September 2021, Thames Water launched its partnership with Berkshire Vision to help more customers with visual impairments. In 2020, the water company teamed up with Age UK Berkshire to encourage older customers to join its PSR and has also introduced the British Sign Language app into its support services for customers who are Deaf to enable more inclusive and accessible communications.

Thames Water customers who are living with long-term health conditions, mobility issues or qualify for a pension can join the company’s free priority services register. Thames Water has over 278,000 customers signed up to its PSR but aims to have 410,000 by 2025.

Customers can find out if they qualify for the PSR and sign up by visiting Priority Services or calling 0800 009 3652. Relatives, charities, and carers can also visit the priority services page and fill in a simple to use application form, to sign up a customer on their behalf.