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The Council and Severn Trent have linked up in an innovative project to make a real difference to the city’s care leavers.
In an industry first initiative Severn Trent will provide financial support to care leavers as they move into independent living.
The new trial will initially see the company working in partnership with the Council, where 400 young adults will be fast-tracked onto its Big Difference Scheme and receive up to 70% off bills.
Mark Grice, External Relationships Manager at Severn Trent said: “We’re really proud to be launching this trial in Coventry as no other utility company has offered support like this and we know this will make a huge difference to those who are getting to grips with settling into independent living since leaving care.
“A lot of people when leaving care are still very young, and who then have to take on bills and responsibility which can be a daunting experience. We worked directly with care leavers to fully understand the situation many are in, which is when we knew we needed to do our bit and make sure that their water bill was one less worry.”
Working with the Children’s Services Through Care team Severn Trent has pledged to provide the support under The Care Leavers Covenant, a commitment by local authorities to help support young adults leaving the care system. Severn Trent is the first utility company to join forces with a local authority, in offering this type of support to care leavers.
The Big Difference Scheme will give the care leavers up to 70% off their water bill in the first year, and then further discounts until the age of 25.
“Now that we’ve established this partnership, there’s so much more that we’d be able to do in ways of supporting care leavers in Coventry as they begin living independently,” adds Mark. “Our aim is not only to provide discounted water bills, but we’re looking to do more with education around bills and how to save water, as well as showing all the opportunities that are available such as work experience placements and apprenticeships.”
If successful, Severn Trent will look to work with more local authorities across its region to support care leavers.
Cllr Pat Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted we have been able to establish this partnership with Severn Trent as I know what an important difference it will make to our young people as they begin to make their way in their adult lives.
“I’d like to thank Severn Trent not just for this pledge but also for their ongoing commitment to Coventry’s care leavers. I also want to thank the Through Care team who do such outstanding work to support our young people every day.”
Coventry Care leaver, Bree Reeves added, “I’m really happy that we don’t need to pay as much towards the water as this is a new tenancy and we’re still settling into adult life and are looking for discounts wherever we can find them. This massive discount in our water provides a lot of help towards running our home.”
For more information on The Big Difference Scheme, visit stwater.co.uk.