More than 13,000 of the most vulnerable people in communities across Wales and the south west of England are set to benefit after Wales & West Utilities announced successful applicants to its £50,000 Safe and Warm Fund.

The gas emergency and pipeline service established the fund in June and put out a call to action to charities and bodies affected by the coronavirus pandemic to apply for support.

In a three-week period, the company received over 400 applications and funding has been awarded to a diverse range of organisations across the company’s operating area, with a focus on those which are directly supporting the most vulnerable. Twenty-one local community organisations, including established charities and groups set up to specifically respond to the coronavirus pandemic, are now set to benefit from funding of between £500 and £5,000.

In Wales, one organisation to be successful in its application is Cardiff charity, Boomerang. The company applied for a £1,000 slice of the fund to help support its services.

We are working hard to tackle poverty across the city and one arm includes collecting unwanted furniture from homes, in turn providing it to homeless people who are moving on from either a hostel or the street, into accommodation. 

This money has been fantastic and will ensure that we can fuel our collection and delivery van for ten weeks.

This might not sound like a long time but in practical terms our team will complete a minimum of 400 furniture collections from across Cardiff, on top of the positive move on of around 70 previously homeless individuals and families into properties that would have otherwise been left unfurnished.

On behalf of all our services users I’d like to thank Wales & West Utilities for supporting our organisation.

Dave Summers, Operations Manager for Boomerang Cardiff.

And in England, Devon’s Friends and Families of Special Children also received support. The company has applied for £5,000 to transform its services post-Covid19.

We provide support to families with children with disabilities across the area and, in the light of Covid19, we have been looking at the ways in which we can transform our services to provide them virtually.

This money is such a big deal for an organisation like ours. We currently directly support over 750 people across the Devon area, but this money will enable us to switch to providing virtual services for improving health and wellbeing.

In taking these steps we are hoping that we can help so many more families locally. On behalf of all our services users I’d like to thank Wales & West Utilities for supporting our organisation to work in a new way.

Kay O’Shaughnessy, Chair of Trustees from Friends and Families of Special Children 

Wales & West Utilities set up the Safe and Warm Fund to help organisations and charities directly respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The gas emergency and pipeline service has been working hard throughout the pandemic to make sure people are kept safe and warm in their homes and opened the fund to help others in communities across Wales and the south west of England do the same.

The Safe and Warm Fund was designed to directly help those working in communities, targeting support at those who need it most.

We are delighted that the fund will now support so many organisations across our operating area: from domestic abuse support units to volunteer transport services for disabled people. The fund will go some way to helping organisations and local communities as they begin to recover from coronavirus. 

Seeing communities come together to face the challenge of coronavirus has been fantastic – and everyone at Wales & West Utilities is excited to see these projects come to life and how they will make a positive impact on the lives of people most in need.

Wales & West Utilities Chief Executive, Graham Edwards.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we'll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We'll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.