Hundreds of vulnerable residents assisted by Tisbury Parish Council and SSEN funding

Funding from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) Resilient Communities Fund has made it possible for a South West Wiltshire based volunteer group to help hundreds of local residents who were shielding during lockdown and continue to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, SSEN repurposed its Resilient Communities Fund (RCF) making £320,000 available to support local efforts to help those most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. Tisbury Parish Council received £3,000 from the RCF to support the work of Tisbury Neighbourhood Response (TNR); a team of over 300 local volunteers who required personal protective equipment to enable them to deliver prescriptions, shopping orders, assist with pet care and carry out emergency odd jobs for self-isolating residents.  

The funding also helped pay for vital telecommunications software supporting TNR’s dedicated force of Telephone Angels, who continue to handle calls for help which are relayed to volunteers on the ground, including a life-saving Quick Response Team. During lockdown, one in four residents in Tisbury - who were aged over 70 - stayed at home, raising demand for TNR’s support services in the first six weeks of lockdown.

For many local people, TNR and the support from SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund have provided a vital lifeline, as Tisbury Parish Councillor Elizabeth Coyle-Camp explains: “Many shielding elderly residents, who had no close relatives or support group nearby, told us that without our volunteer group they would not have been able to cope during lockdown. Enormous thanks goes to SSEN for funding vital protective personal equipment and sanitiser, which helped safeguard  our volunteers and many members of the community they were helping,” 

Jo Niven, SSEN’s Head of Region, said: “When we repurposed our Resilient Communities Fund, the support of the communities we serve was at the forefront of our minds; enabling them to obtain funding that would help them respond quickly and efficiently in tackling the local issues they had identified as a result of coronavirus.

“Tisbury Parish Council and Tisbury Neighbourhood Response has provided vital and commendable assistance to its community and I’m proud that – in this small way - SSEN has been able to help them in their continuing work in the community during these last few months.” 

Earlier this year, successful applicants from community, parish, town and borough councils were awarded up to £3,000 each for projects that supported vulnerable community members, enabled volunteers to support community coronavirus initiatives, provide PPE to vulnerable and frontline workers, run community befriending schemes and improve community communication. 

Since its launch in 2015, SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund has provided over £2.7 million to 538 local community projects to build resilience and protect those most vulnerable.  The criteria for this year’s fund was changed following consultation with SSEN stakeholder groups, who strongly supported opening the fund early and targeting coronavirus response.