Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water has four Discovery Centres across the areas it serves in most of Wales and adjoining parts of England, and carries out visits to schools across the country.
Its programme is linked to the national curriculum and educates children about a range of issues linked to the business, including the water cycle, climate change, water efficiency, responsible use of our sewer system, and safety around its reservoirs.
Since 2001, the programme has reached more than half a million children and accompanying adults, either through school visits to Discovery Centres or through the 600 visits a year carried out by Welsh Water staff to school workshops and assemblies.
The milestone comes as the company has unveiled ambitious targets for the five years to 2025 – including increasing the number of children it reaches in the next five-year investment period to 75,000 annually.
The company held an event at the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff, which brought together around 120 guests from across the sector, as well as more than half of the 57 former teachers on the programme, who were each seconded for a year to work solely for Welsh Water.
Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, gave a keynote speech to the event, praising the programme and the impact on children’s understanding of the value of water and how to protect the environment.
She also gave a personal thanks to Chief Executive Chris Jones following the announcement that he will retire next year, to be succeeded by current Managing Director, Peter Perry.
Delegates also heard from Mr Jones on the importance of the project to help the company realise its company vision to “earn the trust of its customers, every day”, while a choir from New Inn Primary School, near Pontypool in Torfaen, performed.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “People and communities are at the heart of the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generation Act and the Environment Act which aims to enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of people and communities across Wales.
“I am pleased to see programmes like this, working in the community to deliver on these important aims. It encourages, inspires and challenges young people to make important links between how we use water and the impact this can have on the environment, demonstrating how small changes to how we all use water can make a real difference.”
Welsh Water’s Head of Community Engagement, Claire Roberts, said: “We are very proud to have reached such a significant milestone in our education programme – and we were delighted to be joined by so many people from across the company, external stakeholders and teachers who have been instrumental in developing and delivering this fantastic programme.
“It was wonderful to celebrate our progress, and outline how we build on this achievement in the years to come.”