Plumber who refuses to charge vulnerable customers is on verge of bankruptcy

Over the past 18 months, James Anderson has seen both revenue streams shrink, especially donations, as people feel the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

James Anderson refuses to charge vulnerable customers, but is now in danger of bankruptcy
James Anderson refuses to charge vulnerable customers, but is now in danger of bankruptcy

A plumber who refuses to charge vulnerable customers is on the brink of bankruptcy.

James Anderson does free work, including new boilers and repairs for people who would otherwise have a hard time affording it.

His community interest company, Depher, is typically funded by a roughly equal split of money from paying customers and donations from the public.

But in the past 18 months, Mr Anderson, 54, of Burnley, Lancashire, has seen both revenue streams shrink, especially donations, as people feel the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We went into the pandemic with about £130,000 and we’ve got about £27,000 now, so you can see it’s a huge impact,” James said.

“There used to be enough money coming in that we could help a lot of people, but we’re now at the stage where if things don’t change and we don’t see an improvement in private jobs or a huge improvement when money comes in, then maybe Depher has to close permanently. .”



James Anderson who with his daughter Annalize offers free work to elderly and disabled clients
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Image:

FATHER)




“We went into the pandemic with about £130,000 and we’ve got about £27,000 now, so you can see it’s a huge impact,” James said.

“There used to be enough money coming in that we could help a lot of people, but we’re now at the stage where if things don’t change and we don’t see an improvement in private jobs or a huge improvement when money comes in, then maybe Depher has to close permanently. .”

During the pandemic, the company has stepped outside its normal territories and has taken on duties including providing personal protective equipment to nursing homes and the NHS, setting up a food bank and organizing surprise birthday parties for children whose parents had been fired or laid off.

Such work was a further drain on funds, to the point where Mr Anderson said he had not received a salary since the start of the first lockdown last year.



Plumber James Anderson has helped more than 2,500 elderly with debilitating illnesses
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Image:

Dan Rowlands / SWNS.com)






The kind-hearted plumber has fixed boilers and heaters for thousands of frail elderly and disabled people.
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Image:

Dan Rowlands / SWNS.com)




The Mirror first talked about his kind-hearted actions in September 2009, helping thousands of vulnerable people.

Depher, who Mr. Anderson says has helped as many as 17,000 people, currently employs about 10 people but has already had to let go of one full-time apprentice.

“We’ve already started the layoffs and I don’t want to do more,” Anderson said.
In an effort to secure funding, Mr Anderson has written to local MPs, the Prime Minister and even the Queen, but has so far been unsuccessful.



James Anderson has started a fundraiser as he faces a battle to save his company
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Image:

Dan Rowlands / SWNS.com)




He expects the effects of the pandemic to continue to hit the public’s wallets, so he hopes companies can step in to help bridge the funding gap.

He said: “The only way I can see it improving is if the government steps in and says, ‘Okay, we’ll give you some sort of financing’…or if other companies come in and offer some substantial form of investment. , maybe partnerships, something like that.

“For the future, we can no longer count on the public, because the biggest hit in this country in the long term because of Covid is the audience.”



James Anderson’s company recently helped a 95-year-old man who was awarded a prize of nearly £300 for someone to bleed his radiators.
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Image:

Dan Rowlands / SWNS.com)




The clients Depher has recently helped include a 95-year-old man who was awarded nearly £300 by another company for someone to bleed his radiators.

He also helped a couple who was charged more than £5,000 by another company for a bathroom that was so poorly done it was dangerous, Mr Anderson said.

James has encountered an increasing number of elderly people who live for years without heating or hot water because they are too embarrassed to tell family they can’t afford to have it fixed.

As it stands, he fears he may not be able to continue beyond December, leaving such customers vulnerable throughout the winter.

He said, “It would mean a lot more people are suffering,” he said.

The plumber has started a fundraiser at gofundme for anyone who can donate some money to save their business.









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