Philanthropy & Frank Water

Philanthropy & Frank Water (1)

Philanthropy & Frank Water

First up in our focus on Bristol 'institutions' is Frank Water. Frank is a magnificent charity trying to solve poor sanitation over 5,600 miles away in India, all from its Bristol base. We are very proud to count Frank as our charity partner - indeed, in our recent 1000th clean we decided this growth warranted a celebration, and donated some of their bottles to the recipients of the landmark service.

Frank are tireless in their innovative campaigning- Joe was amazed to hear about Jon Shepherd - Frank's Programme Manager - and his tale of a week on water, cutting out all caffeine and alcohol to highlight the significance of humble H20. We had a quick chat with Jon about Frank's history and his story?

Jon - putting a face to the name!

Jon - putting a face to the name!

1. Can you give a brief history of Frank Water?

In 2005, Katie Alcott founded FRANK Water. On a shoestring budget, she bought a few cases of bottled water, sold them to local cafes and restaurants and donated the profits to an NGO in India. Today, FRANK Water is a small, successful safe water charity with a big impact.

There is still a child dying every minute from illnesses related to contaminated water - and India has the worst sanitation in the world, with half the population having no access to a toilet at all. FRANK Water filter and pipe in water, build toilets and educate people about hygiene and sanitation. We work in the poorest communities, in hard to reach rural areas.

Over 10 years work in India, we have supported over 200,000 people to improve their health through increased access to water, sanitation and hygiene education.

A Frank Water collection point

A Frank Water collection point

2. Why did you decide to undertake the challenge of drinking only water for a week?

I wanted to do something to highlight the desperate state of sanitation in India. I think many people know that poverty exists in the world but are a bit lost on where it is worst and also what poverty means for the average person. A shocking 1 in every 3 malnourished children in the world lives in India (Source: UNICEF 2014)

Secondly, I work on community projects with people who are spending hours every day collecting water or having to walk for ages to find a quiet spot to go to the toilet. When I was asked to lead 'Join Jon' I thought it might be a bit of a struggle in the mornings but let's face it, caffeine addiction is a very Western problem - if I can't give up coffee for a week, do I really give a damn about others?

3. Very true! Any longer-term impacts of the challenge?

Join Jon highlighted to me that changing your habits is possible. They say it takes 3 days to start or stop a habit and it made me realise that maybe I should drink a little less coffee, beer and wine. It also made me realise that doing things for charity is easy, you just have to agree to do it and not over-worry yourself with how difficult it could be, or stress so much about the fundraising target that you don⫪t ever do anything. It also encouraged my wife to do something and a few weeks ago, she ran the Bath Half for FRANK Water.

Jon on the campaign trail

Jon on the campaign trail!

4. Wow! Though after the challenge of 2014, what have you got to top the 7-day detox?!

I'm thinking of doing an exercise based challenge like the Coniston Lake Swim in September or maybe volunteering at a festival like WOMAD. Karma Korma happens every March and is all about encouraging people to cook a curry, get together with friends or colleagues, raise funds and save lives. In September, we will be running Give It Up for Water the initiative we piloted in 2014 where people are sponsored to only drink water for 7 days.


Thanks Jon! As you will have read, Frank truly are a whirlwind of activity this month and Gleem would like to congratulate them on their efforts and wish them the best of luck for 2015 - their tenth anniversary! As Gleem grows, we will maintain our commitment to the charity. In fact, Gleem's very own Emily is raising awareness and funds for Frank by running the Copenhagen Marathon in May - 'Held Og Lykke', Emily!

If you're interested in fundraising for Frank, check out for some frankly (!) fabulous ideas!

(All images c/o of Frank Water)

3 Gleem Home / House cleaning staff members inside a  homeroom wearing  purple aprons, white t-shirts with white Gleem logo and yellow rubber gloves on hands holding a cleaning brush, vacuum cleaner and  a mop.