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We team up with Severn Trent to help young people leaving care pay their bills

Published: 16 June 2022

Young people leaving care across the county will soon be able to save money on their household bills thanks to us securing an agreement with one of the UK’s largest water companies.

We have joined Severn Trent’s ‘Big Difference Scheme’ which can help customers on a low income and struggling to pay their water charges.

The plan will see discounts extended to hundreds of young people across Derbyshire aged between 18 and 24 reducing their average yearly water bill by 70 per cent when they leave care.

The scheme goes live this month and is available to care leavers living in areas of Derbyshire supplied by Severn Trent who will be supported by their Leaving Care Workers to access the savings.  

Our Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Safeguarding Councillor Julie Patten said:

“Young people leaving care can be particularly vulnerable when they move to independent accommodation to live on their own as well as fully manage their own money for the first time.

“The challenges of running a home and budgeting while continuing education or looking for a job is a lot to cope with so seeing where we could help with bills, particularly during a cost of living crisis, was a priority and we’re delighted to team up with Severn Trent to be able to offer care leavers a discount on their water charges.

“We’re committed to helping our young people and will continue to develop initiatives like this business partnership to ensure their move to independent adult lives is as successful and enjoyable as possible. It’s a big move and we want to make sure each one of them is supported every step of the way.”

Severn Trent External Relationship Manager Mark Grice said:

“We understand the importance of helping care leavers successfully transition to independent living and we’re pleased and proud to have developed this partnership with Derbyshire County Council.”

Derbyshire care leaver Emily Statham (23) said:

“The support from Severn Trent will be of great benefit to care leavers across Derbyshire and for me, will really help me stay in control of my bills.”

Our leaving care service has responsibility for around 750 young people aged 16 to 25 who are preparing to leave foster care, children’s homes, semi-independent accommodation, or supported lodgings and has a range of services and support in place to help them lead independent, happy, safe and fulfilled lives.

As the result of another successful partnership we developed two years ago, Derbyshire’s eight district and borough councils agreed to give all care leavers aged up to 25 a full council tax discount as part of a package of support to help them live independently.

Since then an Ofsted inspection of our leaving care service praised our 'passionate and skilled' workforce for showing 'ambition and determination to secure the best outcomes' for young people leaving its care.

Government inspectors, who visited the service and spoke to staff and young people as part of the inspection in October 2021, also said they were ‘humbled by the amazing strength’ of our care leavers.