Laying a foundation for debt-free futures

Debt advice services are set for a boost thanks to a £160,000 package of funding from the Wessex Water Foundation.

Wessex Water has long and established partnerships with the debt advice sector, working with Citizens Advice and other organisations since 2005 to develop a range of schemes to help customers afford their bills, repay debts and reduce their water and energy use.

The latest services supported (below) include Citizens Advice, Community Money Advice centres and foodbanks. They will use the money to fund new adviser roles and hours, training courses, presence in warm spaces and other outreach projects.

  • North Somerset CA (Bristol)
  • South Bristol Advice Centre
  • Bristol NW Foodbank
  • East Dorset and Purbeck CA
  • South Somerset CA
  • Melksham CMA
  • Wiltshire CA

Kate Robbins, Wessex Water’s Head of Customer Policy, said: “These seven new projects across our region will directly increase capacity in the debt advice sector, helping some fantastic partners deliver much-needed services in these tough times.

“We have a fundamental belief that water and sewerage services should be affordable for all, and we’ve already helped 55,000 individual customers through a range of affordability schemes and payment plans.”

Wessex Water refers customers to its debt advice partners for an independent and holistic financial review. Recognising that demand for these services is likely to increase, the company is injecting extra funding on top of the £225,000 it already provides annually to the sector.

The Wessex Water Foundation was launched in 2020 and is run in partnership with the Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Quartet Community Foundations. It provides grants across the Wessex Water region, totalling at least £500,000 per year.