Aquabox doubles clean water filter production with Aquaboost Initiative

Aquabox doubles clean water filter production with Aquaboost Initiative

A Derbyshire charity providing clean water filtration systems that save lives in some of the world’s most disaster-hit places has officially cut the ribbon on a new assembly room which will double production from 3,000 to 6,000 water filters a year.

Outgoing High Sheriff Theresa Peltier did the honours at Wirksworth-based Aquabox, officially opening its ‘Aquaboost’ project which is seeing its team of committed volunteers vastly scale up production.

The charity makes filtration systems that it then distributes to the world’s most troubled areas, where the impact of disaster or conflict means people lack the basic human need of clean water.

Originally established by the Wirksworth Rotary Club in 1992, Aquabox has sent more than 125,000 aid boxes to more than 50 countries around the world, converting an estimated two billion litres of contaminated water so that it is clean and safe to drink.

Now the charity has been kitted out with a brand new assembly room and has also transformed its processes through the Lean Sigma manufacturing programme, made famous by Toyota.

The new room and systems now mean that the charity can make twice as many Aquabox family filters, benefiting many more thousands of people around the world.

Theresa Peltier, High Sheriff of Derbyshire opened the new assembly room with Cheryle Berry from Aquabox on a Zoom call with Ukraine.

Theresa, who has now handed over her High Sheriff duties to Ian Morgan OBE, said she had been blown away by the new production facilities at Aquabox and it had been a privilege to officially open them.

She said:

“This is an incredible charity right here in the heart of Derbyshire and I’m delighted to have been able to visit during my year of being High Sheriff. The work that these committed volunteers at Aquabox are doing every day to provide clean water in some of the most war-torn parts of the world is simply mind-blowing.”

During Theresa’s visit, she participated in a phone call between charity trustee Cheryle Berry with a member of the Rotary Club in Ukraine who is distributing Aquabox systems there. Cheryle, who is chair of the Children in Ukraine sub-group for Rotary Great Britain, was talking to Serhiy Zavadsky who leads the Rotary team in Ukraine, along with Yulia Pavichenko, who chairs the Rotary Club’s Children’s Group in Ukraine.

Aquabox doubles clean water filter production with Aquaboost Initiative
Theresa Peltier, High Sheriff of Derbyshire with Aquabox Trustee Dominic Wish.

Theresa said:

“It was very emotional for me to be able to take part in Cheryle’s phone call with Rotary Club members in Ukraine and see first-hand the impact that this charity’s work is having.

“I was so impressed by their Aquaboost project to double production from 3,000 filtration systems a year to a massive 6,000. I wish them all the very best.”

Over the years Aquabox has been sending filtration systems to over 50 countries including Nepal, Syria, Ukraine and Turkey, responding to natural disasters such as earthquakes, or areas beset by conflict where people are desperate for humanitarian aid.

Its Aqua-aid boxes contain a family water filter, plus 40 items like tools, lighting, survival aids, cooking equipment, educational aids and hygiene provisions, carefully chosen through negotiation with the charity’s partners in refugee camps and disaster areas.

The charity supplies two types of filtration systems: a family filter, which cleans water at a rate of a litre a minute and is assembled here in Wirksworth, and a community filter which uses the same technology but scaled up to meet the needs of more people.

The new systems implemented through the Aquaboost project mean volunteers in Wirksworth – who range in age from people in their 40s to their 90s – can make a family water filter in 16 minutes.

Aquabox trustee Dominic Wish said:

“We are excited by our Aquaboost project which is allowing us to scale up our life-saving work by a huge degree. We are almost entirely run by volunteers and myself and colleagues are delighted to use our background in engineering and other industries to be working on such a valuable charity that has a simple aim: providing clean water to people in the world who really need it. We are all human beings and we all need water. We will continue our work to provide it.”

Fellow trustee Rob Barlow said:

“Many thanks to Theresa Peltier for doing us the honour of opening our new Aquaboost assembly room. It was brilliant that she took time out to visit our charity and we are very proud to be able to show off our new system and production area. It will make a very significant difference to people around the world who are going through appalling situations. It is saving lives and we are looking forward to the next chapter for Aquabox.”

Aquabox would like to thank the following organisations for providing help with the Aquaboost project: Forged Solutions Ltd, of Darley Dale; Pratt and Whitney; ITP Aero of Hucknall; Compressors Ltd of Alfreton; Desoutter UK Ltd and Premier Precision Engineering of Chesterfield.