South East Water Community Fund pays out to 100 charitable causes

WATER AID: Greg Clark MP, pictured with the beneficiaries at Trinity Theatre

One hundred good causes across Tunbridge Wells recently received a share of a £100,000 community fund that was set up by South East Water as compensation for the disruption caused by water supply issues in the area at the end of 2022.

South East Water recently joined with the town’s MP, Greg Clark, at a ceremony at the Trinity Theatre to distribute the cash to 100 local charities, with sums ranging from £500 to £5,000. Trinity Theatre itself received a grant of £1,500.

The beneficiaries, both groups and organisations, were chosen by Mr Clark and a judging panel after being invited to apply for a share of the fund.

South East Water’s Customer Service Director Tanya Sephton said: “We know it was a very tough time for the whole community, especially as it happened during the festive season.

“We take our role as a responsible water company seriously and wanted to thank Tunbridge Wells residents for their understanding. This is a gesture that will have a long-term benefit for everyone. A big thank you to them all.”

Mr Clark said: “Following the water outages last December, my priority was to ensure that individual households were compensated. South East Water listened to my concerns by going beyond the statutory minimum and paying households up to £250 – more than the average bill for a year. This resulted in £1.8 million paid out in compensation to households in my constituency.

“However, I am delighted that South East Water have gone one step further and recognised the impact that these outages had on the community as a whole, by generously endowing this community fund, which will benefit so many good causes.”

Among the recipients of the £5,000 grant were Mental Health Resource, who said in response to the funding: “Tunbridge Wells is the third-ranking district across Kent and Medway for prevalence of serious mental health disorders.

“With grants such as this award, Mental Health Resource can reach even more people in our town who desperately need support at this challenging time, through providing free and confidential safe spaces and wellbeing activities.”

Among the charities that received a £1,500 grant was the Tunbridge Wells Community Larder, which provides fresh food, including fruit and vegetables, to those in need.

John Payne from the charity said: “The grant will enable us to continue to meet a vital need of supporting those in need in the community. It will also enable us to supplement what we provide through purchasing basic goods we find it difficult to get hold of.”

A representative of Pickering Cancer Care, another beneficiary of a £1,500 boost, said: “It means we can keep our smile Fund topped up and keep putting smiles on our visitor’s faces.”

Amounts of £500 were also awarded to a range of causes, including Friends of Dunorlan Park, Folly Wildlife Rescue and the Claremont Primary School PTA, among others.

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