A CAMPAIGN group which raises awareness of Windermere's water quality has lost a match funding commitment after breaching one of the terms regarding politics.

Under Aviva community fund, all pledges made by backers of Save Windermere were matched up to £250.

Save Windermere Founder Matt Staniek confirmed this was regarding section 6.8g of the terms and conditions, which states that projects must not 'promote or speak negatively about any political party or any affiliated group, promote of speak negatively about any legislation or government policy, or promote or encourage the violation of any law.' 

He said: "Save Windermere is an inclusive campaign that enjoys widespread support that crosses political boundaries in its aims to protect Windermere and its catchment from sewage pollution. It has no political affiliations and has consistently lobbied all political parties to end the dumping of sewage into Windermere and its surrounding waters.

"Aviva was provided with all information by Save Windermere and performed its own internal checks.

"We deem there is nothing in Save Windermere’s Crowdfunder that breaches section 6.8g, however, we respect Aviva's decision to withdraw their match-funding and we look forward to working with them in the future." 

A spokesperson from Aviva said: "The project page from 'Save Windermere from Sewage' did not meet the requirements of Aviva's Community Fund and is therefore no longer eligible for donation matching from Aviva on the Crowdfunder platform.”

Mr Stanier was also quizzed on where donations to a previous community interest company with different objectives had gone.

He said the funds had been ringfenced in their accounts 'to align with the objectives of the organisation.' 


In March 2022, nearly a year before Save Windermere was registered, Mr Staniek started his first community interest company called Windermere Lake Recovery, which has since been dissolved. 

The campaign has garnered wide support locally and nationallyThe campaign has garnered wide support locally and nationally (Image: Newsquest, Daniel Pye)

According to their March 2023 accounts, Windermere Lake Recovery CIC had current assets of £25,463. 

The community interest statement for Windermere Lake Recovery is that will 'work directly with landowners/farmers and relevant organisations/agencies to implement various ecological changes that will directly improve water quality' before listing schemes related to how farmers and individuals can reduce their phosphorus input in the lake.

For Save Windermere CIC, the statement reads: "The health of Windermere is currently in a parlous state largely due to the amount of sewage being discharged into its waters by the waste treatment works. Save Windermere CIC’s primary goal is to reverse this sharp decline by educating the community and engaging them in action to protect their most valuable asset." 

Mr Staniek leads a weekly protest outside a United Utilities office in Windermere. Since Save Windermere was founded, the group has been highly critical of the water company, and regulator the Environment Agency. 

He said: "Save Windermere, with outstanding support from volunteers, local businesses and the community, runs a series of programmes including scientific data collection, community engagement, political lobbying and educational initiatives.

"Being a not-for-profit community-benefit organisation, all donations received are accounted for and all funds contribute to our efforts to protect our lake, with the company’s financials readily accessible in the public domain and independently audited.

"All relevant monies raised via the Windermere Lake Recovery CIC have been ring-fenced in our accounts to align with the objectives of the organisation."

Save Windermere has received national coverage and celebrity endorsement for their campaign to protect England's largest lake from sewage pollution. 

Mr Staniek added: "This will not impact our campaign and whilst United Utilities dump millions of litres of sewage into Windermere, raise our water bills and pay billions of pounds in dividends, we will continue our efforts on behalf of local people and our valuable visitors."