Powering support for those most vulnerable in Assynt
Image from left to right shows Mike Sutherland (SSEN), William Smith (CCA), Tina Roney (CCA), Emily Ross (CCA), Pamela Harvey (SSEN) and Alun Owen (SSEN).
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is empowering the community of Assynt to build and enhance their resilience with an award of £16,250 to Community Care Assynt, to provide transport, a warm place and warm food for those most vulnerable in the community.
Community Care Assynt (CCA) runs the Assynt Centre in Lochinver, providing a community health and wellbeing hub. With the help of volunteers, the charitable organisation delivers community based services to promote community cohesion, reduce service user isolation and allow older people and those living with disabilities to remain in the remote and rural community for longer. CCA provides lunch 5 days a week, supported transport to and from the Assynt Centre, afternoon activities and supported access to health care appointments.
CCA applied to SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund to provide an extreme weather service which would allow its teams to provide 4x4 transport through the purchase of a new vehicle to help reach the elderly community during challenging weather conditions. The organisation had previously encountered difficulties when trying to reach these service users due to rural single track access roads affected by snow, ice and high winds.
William Smith, Care Manager at Community Care Assynt, said:
“The SSEN funded vehicle is a real bonus for the centre. We have a number of service users who live in some of the more remote parts of the Assynt area and the car allows us to collect them and promote their independence by bringing them into the centre and to Lochinver before taking them home again.
“We own a minibus but it isn’t safe to use this vehicle to transport older adults if wind speeds are gusting in excess of 40mph. The smaller car is easier to drive on the small B roads and provides a safe and secure means of transporting some of our more elderly members. We also put the funding to good use by purchasing gas heaters, some old-style telephones to be distributed to vulnerable service users to enable them to maintain contact with services, rechargeable battery lights, flasks, and heat retaining food transfer boxes for use in an emergency.”
Colin Pirie, Head of Region for the Highlands and Islands at SSEN, added:
“We work all year round to ensure our electricity network is prepared for whatever the winter throws at us, but we want to help our communities build their own resilience too.
“This year we’ve experienced a harsh winter with the notorious “Beast from the East” affecting many of our communities in the north of Scotland. We want to help our customers be as prepared as they possibly can be for these situations and our Resilient Communities Fund enables us to support some of those most vulnerable in our communities across the Highlands and Islands.”
SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund is open to applications for communities located in the north of Scotland looking to improve their community resilience, with £220,000 available for non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities working in the area covered by SSEN’s distribution and transmission networks in the north of Scotland. Applications must be submitted by the closing date of Tuesday 15 May. For details, visit www.ssen.co.uk/resiliencefund.
“We’ve been delighted to support Community Care Assynt through our Resilient Communities Fund to help build and enhance their community resilience, and I’d encourage other interested groups to apply for funding before the closing date on Tuesday 15 May.”
Images of Community Care Assynt vehicle funded by SSEN through its Resilient Communities Fund - pictures by Christopher Puddephatt.