SSEN funding helps Hazlemere Parish Council support residents during pandemic

Hazlemere Parish Council secured £3,000 of funding to help hundreds of vulnerable and older residents in a Buckinghamshire village through the coronavirus pandemic. The award was made available through Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) Resilient Communities Fund. 

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic the electricity network operator for Buckinghamshire has donated over £320,000 to support local communities respond and support vulnerable groups. Hazlemere Parish Council saw the opportunity to use the funding to support the vital work of the Hazlemere Coronavirus Community Support Group, and their successful application resulted in a £3,000 award from SSEN. 

The funding has enabled a team of volunteers to work with the Hazlemere Coronavirus Community Group, providing ongoing emotional support, vital Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and essential services to the most vulnerable members of their community and their carers. The group has been working with local businesses to get food and prescriptions to those who need them, while running a telephone support scheme to lend a friendly ear to isolated members of the community. 

At the start of the pandemic, and at the start of the second national lockdown, leaflets were issued to over 4,500 properties across Hazlemere to update and inform residents of the assistance available, and many vulnerable and older people across Hazlemere – especially those isolating – have been able to access the help available from the safety of their homes. 

Jane Baker, Chairman of Hazlemere Parish Council said: “As soon as the pandemic began and the first lockdown took place, it was clear that there was a great deal of worry locally about how some of our older and more vulnerable residents would manage. 

“We were aware of the huge amount of goodwill and community spirit to act positively across Hazlemere, and through SSEN’s funding and the ongoing hard work of our volunteers, we have been able to support our local shopping and prescription delivery services, and establish a hardship fund. Thanks to the grant, volunteers were also able to distribute a small gift - a potted hyacinth - to their most regular callers, as a symbol of a more hopeful future on the way. 

“We are very grateful to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks for this grant, which is enabling us to help so many vulnerable members of our community.” 

Anthony Urquhart, SSEN’s Head of Region, added: “I’d like to commend Hazlemere Parish Council and the Hazlemere Coronavirus Community Group for the way they quickly reacted to the needs of their community and used their Resilient Communities Fund award to set up ongoing services for those who find themselves isolated or vulnerable during this pandemic.  

“Their teams of volunteers have provided a valuable support system in their community and I am proud of the small role SSEN has had in their efforts.” 

Since its launch in 2015, SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund has now 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. 

SSEN has published a report, detailing how SSEN’s grants have helped 178 emergency projects across northern Scotland and central southern England during the pandemic. To learn more about this year’s repurposed Resilient Communities Fund, please click here.