New £285,000 fund opens to help communities become more resilient

Community volunteers looking at a map

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is urging communities in the north of Scotland to apply for grant-funding of up to £20,000 as it reopens its Resilient Communities Fund.

The Resilient Communities Fund will be worth £285,000 in total and is available to non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities in SSEN’s distribution network area.

The applications process opened on 6 April with a deadline date of 15 June 2017. An independent panel, made up of representatives of community and charitable organisations with expertise in community resilience planning, alongside members of SSEN’s management team, will decide which projects are to receive grants from the Resilient Communities Fund.

The Resilient Communities Fund supports local projects that:

  • Protect the welfare of vulnerable community members by enhancing their resilience and through improving effective community participation during emergencies.
  • Enhance community facilities, services and communication - specifically to support local response to a significant emergency event.

SSEN has pledged to extend the fund to 2023 using a proportion of the income it receives from the industry regulator Ofgem in relation to its stakeholder engagement performance. Based on 2015/16 figures, this would allow funding in the region of £2m to be distributed to community-led groups and charities in the north of Scotland over the six-year period.

Previous rounds of the fund were significantly oversubscribed, and priority will be given to projects that support isolated communities that have experienced emergencies due to weather events; town and city based projects showing innovative ways to build resilience; projects which can deliver an improvement to the resilience of vulnerable community members; and support for areas which can be difficult for emergency services to reach quickly.

Norman Kerr, Energy Action Scotland Director and Resilient Communities Fund Chair, said: “It is great that SSEN has decided to relaunch the Resilient Communities Fund in 2017. We have seen what a difference the previous round of funding has made to communities and it will be welcomed by the groups that are successful once again. The past rounds of the fund were oversubscribed and we expect similar demand again.”

Lisa Doogan, Director of Customer Relationship Management at SSEN, said: “We work with the communities within our network area all year round and are committed to helping them become more resilient, whether that’s assisting them with resilience plans, education or through the Resilient Communities Fund. Ensuring our customers are safe during an emergency is one of our key priorities and through this fund we are able to help them be better prepared.

“We would encourage communities to consider how their applications fit with their community plans. If they are looking to purchase equipment they clearly detail how it will be stored and the costs to install and maintain it outlined. And if they are looking to hire staff they must be provided a salary in accordance with our Living Wage commitment.”

The first two rounds of the Resilient Communities Fund were highly competitive with 60 organisations being allocated £300,000. Successful grants included projects to: improve community flood defences; enhance facilities in emergency centres; purchase emergency vehicles for remote areas; provide generator equipment for GP surgeries and nursing homes; and to fit community defibrillators.

To find out more about the Resilient Communities Fund, or to download an application form, visit: www.ssen.co.uk/resiliencefund. To check your network operator, please visit: www.ssen.co.uk/Whoismynetworkoperator