Help Paying Water Bills
people are unable to pay for essential services, such as water, help may be
available through organisations such as the Severn Trent Trust Fund, but the use
of charitable funds to pay household bills is not without its critics.
University of Leicester Centre for Utility Consumer Law is embarking on a
research project, financed by Severn Trent Trust Fund, the largest independent
trust of its type, to find out how applicants for funding, who have water bills
or other costs they cannot meet, feel about applying to the charity.
will be asked how they experience their application, how it makes them feel
about themselves, and what they feel they have to give in return.
research will be led by Professor Cosmo Graham, Director of the University’s
Centre for Utility Consumer Law, and will be guided by a steering committee
which will include trustees and staff of the Severn Trent Trust Fund.
Graham commented: “Water charities have emerged in recent years as a
consequence of the far-reaching changes to our water supply and social security
Views about charitable help tend to be divided.
hope this research will help inform debate about ways of ensuring all of us can
access essential services like the water supply – not least by finding out
from applicants themselves what it’s like applying to a water charity.”
Braley, Chief Executive of Severn Trent Trust Fund said:
“We are enthusiastic about this research.
It’s important that people turning to us for help don’t feel
inhibited or devalued in any way.
Few people are lucky enough not to have a crisis at some time in their
lives; the Trust is able to give a helping hand.
value of the right approach far outweighs merely giving financial aid.
Our experience is that for many people, contact with the Trust has
changed their lives giving hope, confidence and empowerment.
This is a benefit worth building on.
We can only do so by learning from this and other research”.
University of Leicester Centre for Utility Consumer Law was established in 1998
with funding from the Nuffield Foundation.
Much of its work has been bound up with the energy regulator’s Social
Action Plan, to deal with fuel poverty and devised to try and ensure that the
benefits of competition between the utilities should be shared more equally
across the whole range of consumers, including disadvantaged households.
The Centre’s work is consumer-based and involves improving links
between companies and advice centres.
Further information is available from Professor Cosmo Graham, Director of
the University of Leicester Centre for Utility Consumer Law, telephone 0116 252
2355, facsimile 0116 252 5023, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.