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Financial help to pay water bills over Christmas holiday

The Big Difference Scheme, set up by Severn Trent Trust Fund.
The Big Difference Scheme, set up by Severn Trent Trust Fund.

Hard-up families in Gainsborough could get financial help to pay their water bills over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

For the charitable body, Severn Trent Trust Fund, has launched the Big Difference Scheme (BDS), which could save an average of £250 per customer.

The scheme aims to help people during the festive period when they might be in danger of letting debt get out of control. It should also enable them to start 2017 with a clean slate.

Kim Wootton, operations director at STTF, said: “With continuing economic uncertainty, higher prices in the shops and the cost of Christmas looming, people will be struggling to pay all of their bills. BDS can help all families. You don’t have to be unemployed or on benefits to receive it. For some, it has been the first time they have had to seek help but, in most cases, the financial difficulties have been brought about by unexpected life-changes, such as illness or divorce.”

STTF was established by Severn Trent Water to help customers experiencing severe hardship. It has already donated more than £60 million to customers and also provides grants to help with essential household items or bills.

Mark Grice, of Severn Trent Water, said: “The help offered by STTF also includes support to set up payment plans, fast-tracked appointments for advice and grants for those most in need.”

STTF was able to help one individual who was struggling to make ends meet by reducing his water bill to just £32 per year. He also received grants to buy a cooker and a washing machine after an assessment with a STTF adviser.

BDS is available to anyone finding it difficult to pay water charges. Awards will vary, but low-income families are most likely to meet the criteria and could be eligible for a reduction ranging from 10% to 90% for a full 12 months.