Wales & West Utilities is embarking on a new £2.5 million partnership with Kidney Care UK which will see them work with the UK’s gas distribution networks(GDN's) to offer specialist support to help nearly 18,000 people living with kidney failure across the UK.

Currently across the UK, there are 30,074 people (29,135 adults and 939 children) with advanced kidney disease who rely on dialysis to stay alive; almost 1,800 of these are in Wales. The majority of these patients have a routine which consists of three to four sessions of dialysis a week, each taking up to 6 hours or more in hospital. On top of this they have to manage the associated stress and time pressures of travel to and from treatment. Due to the time constraints and health impacts associated with treatment for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), only 26% of people on dialysis are in full time employment2. The consequent low income means many people with kidney failure live in relative poverty, compounded by the misery of increasing costs of living.

The unique and transformational partnership, uniting statutory, charitable and corporate sectors, will support vulnerable customers most in need, providing people living with CKD, with vital support to help tackle fuel poverty. The initial two-year project will provide a holistic suite of services, including face-to-face support where patients will get assistance with benefit entitlement, welfare support and specialist money and energy advice. The service will maximise outcomes, in terms of financial support, whilst also promoting energy and carbon monoxide awareness.

The project follows the success of The Kidney Support and Welfare Wales project, which launched last year, and saw Wales & West Utilities work with Kidney Care UK and the NHS health boards across Wales to provide free, impartial guidance and support that centres around welfare. Since the project launched in 2023, 623 patients have been supported by the new service (almost half of the haemodialysis population in Wales); including welfare and benefits checks for 259 people, resulting in £115,870 in financial gains for individuals.

The expansion of Kidney Care UK’s patient support services will mean that people on dialysis will have access to a dedicated, personal, face-to-face support service. Delivered by trained and trusted Patient Support & Advocacy Officers, the service will enable patients to access all the benefits and welfare support they are entitled to.

Laurie Cuthbert, Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications at Kidney Care UK, said:

We are pleased to be working with Wales & West Utilities as part of a transformational partnership with the Gas Distribution Networks across the UK to support almost 1,800  vulnerable kidney patients who are in immediate need of support. Philanthropic investment from our partners is enabling Kidney Care UK to increase its direct, on the ground support to thousands of dialysis patients, delivering tangible welfare and wellbeing benefits at a time when it is more important than ever.

Sophie Shorney, VCMA Manager at Wales & West Utilities, said:

We are delighted that the initial project positively impacted so many kidney failure patients in Wales that we have been able to lead this project and take it further to provide specialist support to other patients across the UK.

Alongside the other GDN’s we are proud to be supporting Kidney Care UK in delivering energy related welfare advice and support to people with chronic kidney disease. This initiative provides a real opportunity to improve the quality of life for people with kidney disease and we hope that this unique partnership will continue to impact many of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities across the UK.

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £25m to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Funding is distributed through the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA), and 75% of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25% will be spent on collaborative projects with the other gas networks across the whole of the UK.

For more information about Kidney Care UK’s patient support services go to