Funds awarded to charities chosen by community panel


Earlier this year, we launched our Customer and Community Grants scheme to give money back to those in our region who need support the most. Our Community Grants are split across two levels to support different sized charities and volunteer-led organisations across our region.

Since Level 1 applications closed, each submission has been carefully reviewed by our panel of employees, customers and young people from across our region to make sure the funds support the priorities of our local communities. We’re now ready to announce the regional charity partners the panel hand-picked for funding support.

What’s the Community Grants scheme?

Many of our customers and communities have been affected by the impact of COVID-19. We recognise how vital the work of charities and grassroots, volunteer-led community projects has been during this unpredictable time.

When we identified a sum of compensation left unclaimed by customers, we wanted to make sure every penny left over had the greatest possible impact and went directly back into supporting those who need it most. Alongside a hardship fund for individual customers facing difficult circumstances, we launched our Community Grants Scheme to re-purpose these funds to support the groups that work so hard to help our customers’ communities thrive.

The Level 1 application process welcomed UK-registered charities operating in the South East to apply for a one-off grant of £10k–£20k to support the vital work they do.

How the charities were chosen

Interest in the scheme was high and we received 65 applications for Level 1 funding alone. To make sure the funds are used in a way that reflects the concerns of the communities we serve, and aligns with our company’s purpose, we set up a panel of employees, customers and young people from across our region to review the applications and choose who would receive the support.

Our employee group reviewed all of the applications to identify a shortlist for each of the key regions we operate in – the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent. Each application was scored against four key criteria:

  • Identified regional need
  • Robust financial proposal
  • Project legacy and sustainability
  • Alignment to our company purpose

The shortlist was then handed over to our Water Futures panel, made up of over 75 customers and young people, who oversaw the final selection. The panel worked through the remaining submissions and selected the applicants whose work best reflected their concerns. Each of these hand-picked organisations will receive a grant and support from us over the next 12 months.

The successful applicants

We’re delighted to announce the following regional charity partners have been awarded Level 1 funding support through the scheme. In addition, all shortlisted applicants received a £250 donation in recognition of the time spent on their applications.

Isle of Wight
  • Earl Mountbatten Hospice – our donation will support young people with life limiting conditions and their carers with suitable services on the island.
  • Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat – our funds will go towards supporting volunteer emergency services and upskilling volunteer crew to deal with an increase in mental health-related call outs.
  • Off The Record South East – our donation will provide 12 months of free one-to-one counselling services for young people and their families operating in the Leigh Park area of Havant.
  • One Community – Eastleigh Young Carers – our funds will go towards providing young carers respite care and fun trips and free activities to help ease the pressures and reduce their feelings of isolation.
West Sussex
  • Chestnut Tree House – our grant will be used to create a sensory garden for families, residents and staff of this children’s hospice so they have green space to visit for play, reflection and enjoyment on site.
  • Chichester Community Development Trust – our funds will go towards transforming a disused wilderness area into a multi-generational learning and therapeutic green space for residents experiencing mental health challenges.
East Sussex
  • FareShare Sussex – our grant will help tackling hunger and food waste with the running of the warehouse, which distributes food parcels. Our donation will equate to 60,000 meals.
  • South Downs National Park – our donation will support the restoration of two dew ponds located at Seven Sisters and Beachy Head and provide information for visitors about the role of the Downs and our water supply to local areas.
  • Dandelion time – we’ll support the installation of eco toilets, wildflower meadows and a new water efficient watering system of a therapeutic outdoor centre for children who have survived trauma and abuse.
  • Marthas Trust – This charity supports children and young adults with profound and complex learning and physical disabilities. Our funds will help them re-emerge safely after a long period of isolation, experience social clubs and strengthen online activities already in place.

Find out more about the successful applicants in your local area for the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent.

Want to apply for a grant? You still have a chance…

Level 1 funding will reopen in 2022, so please check our website and social media for updates if you’re interested in applying in future.

Until then, feel free to check if you're eligible to apply for Level 2 funding as applications are open until Friday 31 December. Good luck!