Covenant Stories

Supporting care leavers to live independently.

Signatory: Severn Trent Water
Locations: Coventry, Wolverhampton, Shropshire, Birmingham, Telford & Wrekin

Severn Trent – Big Difference Scheme

Severn Trent is one of the largest water suppliers In the UK, based In Coventry and servicing millions of homes across the Midlands. As a critical utility provider, they understand the impact they have on the successful transition of care leavers transitioning to independent living. Working In partnership with Coventry City Council and in support of the Care Leaver Covenant, Severn Trent launched an ‘Industry First’ initiative to provide financial support for care leavers.

What’s the opportunity?

For many care leavers, managing bills and personal finances for the first time can be daunting and isolating. Care leavers face the challenge of paying a variety of utility bills for the first time, unaided, which can be difficult to navigate, and many are ending up in arrears with providers.  

Severn Trent’s ‘Big Difference’ scheme tackles this. The pilot, which rolled out across Coventry in 2020, involved hundreds of care leavers who were offered 70% off bills in their first year and further discounts off their bills until the age of 25.

The success of the pilot led Severn Trent to work with the Covenant to identify other local authorities – within their network – who wanted to participate. In 2021 plans to roll out this social tariff across the West Midlands means that over 1,500 care leavers could benefit from the scheme.

Severn Trent also have plans to develop a Graduate and Apprentice Hub In Coventry and provide a space to offer training, support and life skills to care leavers across the city.

Severn Trent

Do you relate to this?

If you, or someone you know, has been affected any of the issues covered in this article, and you feel you may benefit from our free impartial advise, do please contact us.

How does it work?

  • Severn Trent and/or Care Leaver Covenant work in collaboration with local authorities to identify leaving care teams willing to participate In the scheme.
  • Data sharing agreement Is signed between the organisation and local authority
  • Participation/Personal advisors Identify care leavers eligible for the scheme and make a referral via a SPOC within the authority.
  • Severn Trent will match those account holders to the data shared by the authority to correctly apply any relevant discounts to that person’s account.
  • The care leaver will then automatically benefit from the scheme.
  • Data and progress are shared with the Covenant as part of their signatory commitment.

Impact

  • Already in 2021 over 188 young people across Wolverhampton & Coventry are benefitting from the discount to their water bills.
  • Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Birmingham are all in the process of registering care leavers.
  • Current yearly bills for water and sewage from Severn Trent are £369 (2020/21). This means care leavers in their first year will save over £250.

“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.”

Bree Reeves Coventry