SSEN Resilient Communities Fund enables Gillingham to prepare for an emergency

Gillingham Town Council has been testing out its Community Resilience Plan after funding from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) Resilient Communities Fund enabled it to purchase equipment to help protect the welfare of the community and improve communications during an emergency situation.  

With individual awards of up to £20,000 available, the grant scheme has enabled a small working party to be set up by the Town Council under the leadership of Cllr Paul Harris. By building on existing relationships and networks, the working group has applied its local knowledge to ensure the town can act in a way that enhances the responses of the emergency services; creating a stronger, more coordinated framework to effectively deal with severe weather situations.

To test the effectiveness of Gillingham’s Community Resilience plan, a table-top exercise was recently arranged by the Civil Contingencies Unit with representatives from Gillingham Town Council, Dorset Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dorset County Council, British Telecommunications Plc, Dorset RAYNET, The Environment Agency and the Dorset Local Resilience Forum all taking part.

Civil Contingencies Officer, David Beavis said: “The exercise was well received from all of those who attended.  Gillingham’s Community Resilience Plan is a prime example of what effective measures can be put in place at a local level, and the Civil Contingencies Unit will refer to Gillingham’s plan on the Local Resilience Forum’s webpage as an example of good practice”.

Cllr Paul Harris, who attended the exercise on behalf of Gillingham Town Council, added: “We have had great support from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks in further developing our emergency resilience plans and to purchase additional equipment.  We have specific challenges in Gillingham around flooding and much of this equipment will allow our flood wardens to be more effective in their work”.

Applications for the latest round of funding from the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Resilient Communities Fund are now open across central southern England, with up to £20,000 available to charities and local groups who wish to undertake a resilience project to help protect their communities in the event of an emergency. 

Guidelines and applications forms are available on SSEN’s website: www.ssen.co.uk/RCF/England/

The closing date for applications is the 13 August 2017, with awards to be made in October 2017.