Skip to main content


1703. James Anderson

James Anderson, from Burnley, is a plumber who runs his own social enterprise ‘Depher CIC’ to provide free or heavily subsidised emergency plumbing and heating services to vulnerable older and disabled people.

James Anderson

James became a plumber in 1998, and set up ‘Depher’ – which stands for Disability and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Repair – in 2017 after seeing how many vulnerable people were unable to access affordable and vital emergency works. ‘Depher’, which relies significantly on public donations to cover all labour and materials, provides free services during winter months, and discounted during summer, on a range of emergency works including gas leaks, lack of heating and running hot water. Since it was launched, James has supported over 17,000 people, and during the pandemic also branched out into helping distribute personal protective equipment and setting up a foodbank for his community.

In a personal letter to James, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I was inspired to learn about how you have used your professional skills to help over 16,000 vulnerable people with free emergency plumbing and heating services.

“You have dedicated countless hours of your time and raised thousands of pounds to help those in need. It is a brilliantly practical way of serving others.”

James said:

“I am very humbled to be nominated to receive this special award. I would like to thank the Prime Minister’s office for the recognition of the work he does in the Community. Without the support from our community and from other donors worldwide ‘Depher’ would not be able to continue as it does, I appreciates all the support I get.”

See more about ‘Depher’

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

Volunteer now

Search winners