‘Challenge Anneka’ sparks charity partnership spanning three decades with Severn Trent and the Albrighton Trust

30th August 2023

Long-established charitable connections between Shropshire-based charity The Albrighton Trust and Severn Trent thanks to TV star Anneka Rice have been uncovered.

Severn Trent’s Community Fund donated £10,000 earlier this year to the Trust to help install additional solar panels on the roof of its training and resource space, with work completed at the end of July.

But this is not the first time that Severn Trent has provided a helping hand to the good cause, as the relationship between the two organisations dates back more than 30 years to when The Albrighton Trust was first created - with a little bit of assistance from Anneka Rice.

Back in 1992 the site was just an empty space, but now it is an outdoor experience that boasts a garden for everyone to enjoy and a moat filled with fish for people of all abilities to enjoy fishing.

It came to life thanks to the BBC television show ‘Challenge Anneka’ when the presenter and her team had just two and half days to create an angling facility for people with disabilities. There was a lot of work to do on the challenge including having a moat designed, taking delivery of 200 fresh fish and 200,000 gallons of water in time for an angling competition.

And the water is where Severn Trent came in and answered the call for help nearly 30-years ago, turning up on site with huge tankers to fill the moat, which is still a focal point for the Trust to this day.

Jade Gough, Severn Trent Community Fund Officer, said: “Being involved with the creation of the site all those years ago is a source of great pride and it is lovely see the Trust’s evolution continues to grow and thrive.

“I’ve seen some of the footage from the show back in 1992 and it is fantastic to watch the work that went in from everyone and then to see the Severn Trent tankers rolling onto the screen, it’s just a wonderful piece of history and nostalgia as Challenge Anneka was such a British institution.

“We now hope the new solar panels that our Community Fund donation has gone towards creates huge savings for the Trust and long may our relationship continue for another 30 years!”

The Albrighton Trust appeared on series four, episode four of the series and clips and footage can still be found online of all the action and how the challenge turned out.

Sandie Jackson, from The Albrighton Trust, said: “Everyone at the Albrighton Trust, Moat and Gardens are extremely grateful to the Seven Trent Community fund in helping towards the cost of Solar Panels, especially during this time of uncertainty and fluctuating energy costs. The charity is heavily reliant on donations and has always strived to keep overhead costs to a minimum, so generously given funds are spent helping the people who rely on our support.”

The Albrighton Trust, Moat and Gardens offers educational and recreational activities for people disadvantaged by disability or illness, who are welcomed and supported whatever their capability.  

The Trust provides outdoor activities, including angling from wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms, horticulture, woodcraft and conservation and wildlife.

All activities are either inspired by or involve the outdoor environment. Facilities are specifically designed to ensure everyone, regardless of disability or capability can experience the joy and satisfaction of engaging in positive, outdoor activity.

For more information on the Severn Trent Community Fund and to find out how to make an application visit stwater.co.uk and search for Community Fund.