South West Water gives a helping hand to Cornwall’s struggling families

The HomeStart UK Folkestone Ready Steady Go walking group, meeting up on Wednesday morning to walk, chat and have fun in the coastal park of Folkestone, Kent. (photo by Andy Aitchison / HomeStart UK)

Giving Home-Start Kernow a financial head-start

South West Water gives a helping hand to Cornwall’s struggling families

A Cornwall charity offering vital support to the county’s struggling families has received a birthday present to remember, courtesy of South West Water.

Home-Start Kernow – which provides practical help, advice and friendship to parents across Cornwall and the Scilly isles – has landed a £4,724 grant to continue its essential outreach work in what is its 20th anniversary year.

“The money is an absolute Godsend in what is a very difficult time,” said Home-Start Kernow manager Debbie Wesley. “The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Cornwall very hard and we are seeing increasing demand on our services. There is much more poverty and unemployment now, which hits families with young children disproportionately hard, meaning more mental health issues as people worry about money and more isolation from lockdown.”

Home-Start Kernow, the Cornwall arm of national organisation Home-Start UK, has a network of trained volunteer ‘peer supporters’ who are assigned to offer support to struggling families, typically with children aged five and under. Help can range from giving practical advice to a new mum of twins, or assisting families with disabled or sick children, to liaising with other professional agencies in more complex cases.

The grant has been given to the charity as part of South West Water’s new Neighbourhood Fund, which aims to get £100,000 to deserving causes across its operating region this year.
With the various lockdowns of the last 12 months severely impacting much of the face-to-face work Home-Start Kernow undertakes, the charity has switched its efforts to running four online group support sessions for families.

Going forward, the grant will help fund the work of a paid co-ordinator for a year. These staff oversee the recruitment of volunteers as well as assigning them to families in need of help. Up to 190 families will benefit from the cash boost.

“Raising funds is especially difficult now because many charities are struggling,” said Wesley. “We have received National Lottery funding in the past but that has come to an end this year, so the Neighbourhood Fund will help fill a much-needed gap.

“A real positive for us was the turnaround time from application to us funding out we would be lucky enough to be successful. Our focus is very much about Cornish people supporting other Cornish families, so it’s great to have that local ethos in this grant.”

Jo Ecroyd, Customer Service Director of South West Water has said of the provider’s Neighbourhood Fund:

“All of us at South West Water are so pleased to give back to Cornwall and the Scilly Isles and help with the valuable work that Home-Start Kernow does to improve the lives of families in the area. Everyone has felt the financial and emotional hit of the pandemic and it has been especially hard for those with young children, therefore we are pleased to alleviate some of this pressure through the Neighbourhood Fund by supporting one of Cornwall’s long-standing charities.”

The pandemic has emphasised the importance of local communities and South West Water is investing in supporting people across Devon and Cornwall to build back and connect communities. The South West Water Neighbourhood Fund is making a tangible difference to the lives of people living in Devon and Cornwall.

South West Water is making this investment to better the lives of local people through funding projects which protect the nature and the environment for the benefit of community health and well-being; provide new opportunities for people to learn and develop; bring communities together, virtually or physically – when safe to do so; and/or support the upkeep of local neighbourhood centres and facilities to keep communities strong.

To find out more about the South West Water Neighbourhood Fund, visit


Press information and images:

Maddy Schilg, Phoebe van den Bergh or Stacey Stockwell at Siren Communications:;; or +44 (0)20 7759 1150.

About South West Water:

South West Water is the water and wastewater service provider for a population of c. 1.7 million in Cornwall, Devon, and parts of Somerset and Dorset. Since 2016 it has also been providing water services in the Bournemouth Water region to a population of c. 0.5 million. It provides reliable, efficient and high quality drinking water and waste water services throughout these areas.

South West Water believes that by investing in the future of its region, it is not only improving the quality of life for today’s residents and visitors but also taking responsibility for future generations. Its aim is to continually drive up standards, particularly in the areas that matter most to its customers and be amongst the best in the water industry.