Adur and Worthing residents given water bill reprieve - 'There is help available'
and live on Freeview channel 276
This comes amid a new initiative by Worthing Borough Council and Adur District Council.
Adur & Worthing Councils has partnered with Southern Water, Policy in Practice and the TellJO service ‘to get extra help’ to ‘some of the most vulnerable members of the community’.
Kevin Boram, Adur District Council’s cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: “Our proactive project allows us to target help towards those who are most likely to benefit from it. It’s extremely rewarding to hear how this partnership was able to save people real money on their water bills.”
In June this year, Shoreham-based TellJO began contacting residents in Adur and Worthing who receive council tax support and housing benefit ‘to try to identify those vulnerable’ to debt and ‘find ways to tackle the root causes of the problem’.
A councils spokesperson added: “More than 500 people were subsequently referred to Southern Water to see if they were eligible for additional assistance, including access to a hardship fund, discounts on their bills or to agree a payment scheme for arrears. In total, those referred to Southern Water have saved more than £16,000 so far.
"TellJO also conducted wellbeing calls with more than 350 people and was able to offer additional support including grant and benefit advice as well as referrals to debt advice providers and the council’s housing and wellbeing departments.
"Help with energy bills was also offered, including referrals to the energy network priority service register for older people or those with a disability.”
The councils said residents contacted by TellJO were identified as part of the ‘proactive initiative’, using ‘pioneering database technology’ developed by Policy In Practice, a social policy software and analytics company.
This technology allows the councils to ‘identify at an early stage’ people who ‘may not be coping financially’ and offer appropriate help ‘quickly and efficiently’.
Carl Walker, the deputy leader of Worthing Borough Council, said: “There is help available for people that are struggling with the cost of living, but many people still don’t realise that they are eligible for support. Through TellJO we have been able to help people not only save money on their bills, but access grants, benefits and wellbeing advice too.”
Visit https://www.southernwater.co.uk/account/what-if-i-can-t-pay-my-bill to find out more about accessing help from Southern Water.
Or visit https://www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/cost-of-living-support/ for more help available with the cost of living.