SSEN funding helps Wiltshire village stay on the move through winter

Snow blade and tractor in farm yard

Funding from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is helping a Wiltshire village to stay accessible and on the move through the worst of the winter weather.

The Parish Council for the rural village of Compton Bassett was awarded £2,230 through SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund; a scheme established six years ago to help charities and groups across its central southern England patch to boost their resilience and tackle areas of vulnerability in their communities with awards of up to £20,000. 

SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund award has enabled Compton Bassett Parish Council to buy a snow blade that will help its 250-strong community keep their rural roads clear, ensuring access to the village for those who live and work in the area, and vitally for emergency services attending incidents in and around the village. 

Gareth Shields, SSEN’s Community Investment Manager said: “SSEN understands the importance of helping rural villages to boost their resilience in times when they may feel isolated due to adverse weather. In recent years we have seen snowfall during the winter months across various areas in our central southern England patch, so we were happy to award Compton Bassett Parish Council with the money required to buy this snow blade.” 

Jane Marshall, Vice Chair of Compton Bassett Parish Council added: “We are so grateful to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks for giving us the grant to enable us to buy this snow blade. It really gives our community peace of mind to know that we will have the equipment we need to help us in the event of a snow emergency.” 

In its latest round of annual grants – distributed in autumn 2019 - SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund (RCF) has awarded over £185,000 to the successful applicants across its south network area. 

This most recent round of funding is the first where support has been extended to projects which achieve one of the following criteria:    

  • Vulnerability – to protect the welfare of vulnerable community members through enhancing their resilience and improving community participation and effectiveness.
  • Resilience for Emergency Events – to enhance community facilities, services and communication specifically to support the local response in the event of a significant emergency event.

In addition to the Resilient Communities Fund, SSEN has been working closely with local communities in the south east of England, helping them create resilience plans for emergencies, such as adverse weather and possible power disruption during winter storms. SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund will re-open for applications in the spring of 2020. Guidelines and applications forms are available on SSEN’s website: www.ssen.co.uk/RCF/England/ with a full report on the fund available here - https://www.ssen.co.uk/RCF/.

Set up in 2014 as a two-year pilot scheme, 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.