A lifeline to those not online

A grant from SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund is helping Highland Senior Citizens’ Network (HSCN) ensure that elderly people who don’t have a computer or smartphone can still keep in touch with the latest help and advice during the coronavirus pandemic.

HSCN is committed to improving resilience amongst the older members of our Highland communities and, prior to the current lockdown, the charity was looking forward to using SSEN’s grant to support its face-to-face meetings and social events. 

At these events, members and friends of HSCN could benefit from the expert advice provided by the emergency services,  and organisations like Trading Standards raising awareness of potential scams in their local area. The events also offer connections with a wide variety of services, along with social, learning and volunteering opportunities.

With the introduction of social distancing guidelines, all of these plans have had to be re-thought, and this has seen the HSCN team go back to basics and put all of its useful content into a traditional newsletter format. 

With nearly 100 groups across the Highlands and 300 individual members spread out across the region, part of the grant from last year’s SSEN Resilient Communities Fund has helped with the publication of the newsletter as well as the postage costs.

Jo Cowan, HSCN Co-ordinator for the South of Highland said: 

“Before lockdown was announced, SSEN’s grant had been helping us develop our plans to work with community groups, libraries and community radio stations across the Highlands to share essential information that can really make a difference to our members.

“We’re looking at a variety of ways to share tips and practical information with our members, topics such as home safety advice from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, details on our partnership with Home Energy Scotland, the free help and support that is available through SSEN’s Priority Services Register, basically anything that will help our members develop their own personal resilience and have a positive impact on their day-to-day lifestyles.”

Anne McDonald, HSCN Co-ordinator for the North of Highland added: 

“The first few weeks of lockdown saw our team busy producing the newsletter for our groups and members, getting them enveloped up and ready for the post; it was quite a task, but it’s all been worthwhile when we started to get the positive feedback from people who were pleased to be hearing from us. We’re already working on the latest newsletter as it’s important to keep in touch with our members and friends at this time.”

Pamela Harvey, SSEN’s Customer Relationship Manager for the Highlands and Islands Region, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to help the HSCN, their commitment to developing resilience amongst older people across the Highlands is a great example of the Resilient Communities Fund in action. 

“By putting all of their invaluable information into a series of newsletters, it means that any members who don’t have access to a computer or smartphone can still keep up to date and not feel excluded, something that is so important in these challenging times.”

To learn more about the work that HSCN is doing, click here.

The photo on our front page shows HSCN's Anne McDonald, with her colleague Jo Cowan featured above.

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

Read more articles by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks