THAMES Water will donate £1m to help customers during the pandemic.

The company's chairman, chief finance officer and various members of the executive leadership team have donated.

The independent Thames Water Trust Fund, which is funded by the company’s shareholders, provides grants to third sector organisations, such as Citizens Advice Bureau, who offer Thames Water customers long-term support and free debt advice.

It also provides grants for essential household goods, including washing machines, fridges and beds, to customers whose long-term circumstances suggest they will not be able to afford these items.

To further help customers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, Thames Water is providing flexible payment options and committing £4m this year to its Customer Assistance Fund, which provides one-off grants to help customers pay off arrears on their water bills.

The increase means Thames Water, which supplies water and waste services to 15 million people, will be the largest charitable funder of debt advice, within the Thames Valley region.

Kelly Macfarlane, Thames Water’s customer experience director, said: “Our essential service means we have an important role to play in supporting our communities and we want to ensure any family who has been financially hit by coronavirus has access to free debt advice and one-to-one counselling.

“By doubling our Trust Fund, we’ll be able to donate more to the debt advice providers we work closely with and help our customers who need extra support during these challenging times.”

Linda Perham, chair of the Thames Water Trust Fund, said: “We are delighted that Thames Water has generously doubled their donation to the Trust Fund so that we can provide more help and support to Thames Water customers coping with debt and disadvantage.

“It is particularly welcome in these challenging and uncertain times, when many people are experiencing financial difficulties, that their water company is demonstrating such care and consideration."

Further information about payment support options during the coronavirus outbreak, the Thames Water Trust Fund, Customer Assistance Fund and WaterHelp can be found on the Thames Water website: