The new Wessex Water Foundation, a multi-million pound initiative launched by Somerset’s water and sewerage company, will focus on supporting people hit hardest by the Covid-19 crisis in its first year. The Foundation is providing dedicated funding for projects across the Wessex Water region in partnership with Somerset Community Foundation, as well as Wiltshire, Dorset and Quartet Community Foundations, and is already prioritising those worst affected by the pandemic. And from 2021 the Wessex Water Foundation will provide at least half a million pounds of funding every year to support community projects, debt advice and charities dealing with those suffering the consequences of poverty through poor mental and physical health, hunger, housing or unemployment. Region-wide emergency funding will be awarded to groups on the frontline, including charities and food banks, while the Wessex Water Recovery Fund opens for local applications later this year to help respond to the challenging economic situation. Wessex Water will also continue to fund local environmental projects, supporting the ambition to rebuild communities with new green infrastructure. Colin Skellett, Wessex Water’s CEO, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to launch the Wessex Water Foundation alongside our friends in the community foundations in our patch. “Being at the heart of the communities we serve is nothing new for us, but the Wessex Water Foundation is a new way of making sure we’re helping the people who need it most. “It’s been an incredibly tough time for everyone in our region and supporting emergency coronavirus response projects is a fitting place to start.”
Justin Sargent, CEO at Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) added: “We’re delighted to continue our successful partnership with Wessex Water and would like to thank them for their support. Their initial contribution to our Somerset Coronavirus Appeal will be swiftly awarded to local groups and organisations, helping them to continue their good work on the front line, supporting those most in need in our communities.”
SCF recently launched the next phase of their Somerset Coronavirus Appeal in a bid to raise £1.5m for communities across the Somerset.
Justin continued: “In the three months since our appeal was first launched [mid-March 2020], thanks to the incredible support of local donors like Wessex Water and the National Emergencies Trust, it has raised more than £800,000 for Somerset. Those donations have meant that so far, grants worth £450,000 have been awarded to over 160 charitable groups across the county, with more being awarded every week. “We believe that if we can reach our target and award £1.5m in grants we can help our local charities and community groups to weather the financial storm they’re facing now and in the future. The impact of coronavirus on our communities won’t end when lockdown is lifted. Life will be even tougher for those who are already disadvantaged.
“Small, local charities are vital to Somerset’s social fabric and funding from partners like Wessex Water will help tackle this disadvantage and keep our communities strong.”
Rosemary Macdonald, interim CEO of UK Community Foundations, said: “We at UKCF would like to thank Wessex Water Foundation for all their help with the emergency coronavirus appeal.
“It is great to see the Community Foundations in the Wessex region come together and work so successfully with one of our key employers. The Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Quartet Foundations are working hard to distribute the funding provided by the Wessex Water Foundation to those most affected by Covid-19.
“It’s wonderful to see such a great partnership helping those in need at this challenging time. For nearly three decades Wessex Water has been working with the wider community to help local causes and projects, both through volunteering and various funding projects”. To find out more about the Wessex Water Foundation visit wessexwater.co.uk/community
Will you help Somerset Community Foundation raise £1.5m to support our local charities? If you are able, please consider making a donation today, so they can continue to provide funding to help local charities and community groups recover from the financial impacts of coronavirus and ensure they can carry on supporting those in need in the future.
To donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949.
To support the national appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus