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Wessex Water Recovery Fund offers support to COVID-hit communities

Wessex Water is providing more financial help for community groups in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Wessex Water Recovery Fund aims to strengthen communities following the COVID-19 outbreak, with an emphasis on local rather than national projects.

The fund is part of the new Wessex Water Foundation, a multi-million pound initiative which was launched in June and provides a dedicated funding stream for charitable and community projects across the Wessex Water region.

It is run in partnership with the Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Quartet Community Foundations and has already been prioritising those worst affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Particular priority will be given to those groups that are working to:

  • Support people in financially difficult circumstances
  • Help build stronger communities
  • Support the green recovery with new initiatives
  • Restore and protect nature and wildlife for community health and wellbeing.

Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s Head of Community Engagement, said: “For this year only, as a response to the challenges faced by local communities, the Wessex Water Recovery Fund has been set up to provide support that will both address priority needs and help build resilience for the future.

“Applications for the fund will open with our four regional Community Foundation partners from Monday, October 5. We particularly welcome applications from BAME groups.

“The fund will close on Friday, December 4, with decisions made at local community panels in January 2021.”

The Wessex Water Foundation has already supported a number of charitable projects:

  • EAQ Manor Farm, near Ilminster, is an outdoor and equine-assisted learning centre which works with children, young people and adults who are overcoming isolation, exclusion and social and emotional difficulties. Funding has helped the charity hold virtual and in-person equine therapy sessions to ease the impact of the lockdown on its members.
  • Ups and Downs Southwest (pictured), based in Westonzoyland, is a charity that supports children and young people with Down Syndrome. Funding has enabled Ups and Downs Southwest to expand and improve its education programme, providing vital support to young people in the area.

Justin Sargent, CEO at Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), said: “We’re very pleased to continue our successful partnership with Wessex Water and delighted to administer the new Wessex Water Recovery Fund. From early October, local groups and organisations can apply to us for a grant from the Fund to continue their fantastic work supporting those most in need in our communities.

 “Small, local charities are vital to Somerset’s social fabric and funding from partners like Wessex Water will help to keep our communities strong.”

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