Westbury residents supported through pandemic with help from SSEN funding

Funding from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is helping a Wiltshire town council in their ongoing efforts to provide community support to its vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic and the current lockdown. 

Westbury Town Council received a £3,000 award through SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund (RCF) to boost their work in the local area as they repurposed the roles of staff members and volunteers to set up food banks, prescription and shopping collection and delivery, and even dog walking services for those isolating or shielding in response to the pandemic. 

By working in partnership with Wiltshire Council, Crosspoint and White Horse Ministry, Westbury Town Council has been able to pool resources to extend the level of funding and support needed to cater for its community during the ongoing pandemic; efforts that have recently included bringing a safe and happy festive season to many local families. 

Deborah Urch of Westbury Town Council said: 

“We have a core group of volunteers who make up and deliver food boxes to homes across Westbury, providing families with nutritious ingredients for meals and other essential homes items. In the run up to Christmas Day these deliveries - with additional festive treats - were welcomed by 84 local households. In addition to this, we were able to provide Christmas gifts to 69 local children, wrapping and delivering them in time to be opened on Christmas morning.

“This generosity, which brought a much-needed boost to many Westbury families who have been affected by the pandemic, wouldn’t have been possible without the support and funding of organisations such as SSEN, and we’re grateful to them for helping us set up our ongoing support service.” 

Westbury Town Council’s support of its community continues during this most recent lockdown with its ongoing food box delivery to the most vulnerable members of their community, and the additional service of a pastoral care phoneline provided by the White Horse Ministry. 

Deborah added: 

“The money provided by SSEN enables us to top up the donated food items for our delivery boxes, so we can provide other essentials such as washing powder and toilet rolls. 

“Our healthy options food boxes are currently being delivered to 46 families in Westbury every Monday and Thursday, and while that number is increasing all the time, we aim to continue this service alongside our prescription collection and dog walking assistance while the pandemic remains. Despite the difficulties we continue to face, Westbury is a fantastic community to live and work in.”

Craig Rankin, SSEN’s Head of Region, said: 

“Westbury Town Council has shown incredible initiative in the face of the pandemic by joining forces with other local organisations to establish a system that continues to support its community during the current lockdown. 

“They’ve delivered much needed provisions and services to many local families, and their work to ensure that so many were able to enjoy Christmas in difficult circumstances is commendable. I’m proud that, through SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund, we have been able to play a small part in helping them achieve this.” 

SSEN repurposed its Resilient Communities Fund (RCF) making £320,000 available to support local efforts to help those most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. 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 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.

To learn more about SSEN’s repurposed Resilient Communities Fund, please click here.