Two water wise communities net £50,000 for North West hospices

People in Blackburn and West Cumbria have earned thousands of pounds for their local hospices – by saving over 250 million litres of water.

The money comes after two innovative summer water saving campaigns where United Utilities pledged support for a valued local charity in return for people being more water efficient.

In Blackburn, people were asked to save 100 million litres of water over three months in return for a £25,000 donation to the East Lancashire Hospice.

In West Cumbria people saved a staggering 150 million litres in under two months and earned £25,000 for Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

Both hospices said the welcome cash injection was more vital than ever after coronavirus restrictions meant many traditional fund-raising events were cancelled.

Over the course of the campaign, United Utilities water saving messages reached more than 160,000 people many of whom made pledges to try to achieve the campaign’s water-saving target of 15 litres a day per person.

The most popular pledge in Blackburn was to switch the tap off while brushing teeth, while in Cumbria it was to use a watering can instead of a hosepipe in the garden.

United Utilities’ customer director Lou Beardmore, said the campaign, which achieved a great response from local people on social media, encouraged people to save water by converting their public pledges and actions into cash for a cause close to the community’s heart.

“To be honest we didn’t know how well it would work, but we were blown away by the positive response, with people making pledges and sharing tips. Even though the weather turned wetter and local lockdown restrictions came into force, people pulled out all the stops to hit the targets.

“We were only asking people to save 15 litres each a day by doing really simple things like turning off the tap while brushing their teeth. But what really seems to have made it personal for people was linking their positive community action to a charity close to their hearts. Hospice staff have been amazing getting the message out there to their supporters and leading by example.”

East Lancashire Hospice Income Generation Lead Sharon Crymble said:
“This really is fantastic news and we can’t express enough how grateful we are to the people of Blackburn who got behind this campaign to save water and helping us to achieve the target for this outstanding donation. Our income has dropped dramatically through the pandemic, especially as we have had to stop all our events and usual fundraising activity, but of course we still rely on funds to care for our patients,” she said.

Hospice at Home West Cumbria’s Community Fundraising Team Lead Stella Walsh said:
“We are thrilled that people in West Cumbria supported this campaign and helped us to achieve the water saving target. Our social media campaign had a great reach and our staff and volunteers were proud to share pictures of themselves and their families saving water to help us boost the campaign further. This donation is so gratefully received after such a difficult year.”