Communities encouraged to build resilience with powerful £480k fund

Paul Lucas from Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET with SSEN-funded radio sets for community resilience

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has today announced the launch of a £480,000 fund to build local resilience and protect vulnerable community members.

The 2021 round of SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund will open on Tuesday 6 April, with £480,000 available for non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities working to protect and enhance the resilience of those most vulnerable in the north of Scotland and central southern England. The deadline date for applications is Thursday 10 June.

In March last year, following stakeholder consultation, SSEN repurposed its annual resilience fund to support communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic, providing grants of up to £3,000 to community, town, parish and borough councils. Within seven weeks of the start of lockdown, SSEN made awards of over £360,000 to 178 communities.

While last year’s grants continue to support the ongoing community coronavirus response, the 2021 fund will support local projects that:

  • Protect the welfare of vulnerable community members through enhancing their resilience and improving community participation and effectiveness.
  • Enhance community facilities, services and communication – particularly to support local response to a significant emergency event.

The 2021 fund is particularly focused on projects helping vulnerable or isolated people living in SSEN’s network areas, with applications of up to £20,000 to be considered by an independent fund panel. Funding decisions will be communicated by September 2021.

Commenting on the launch of the fund, Morven Smith, Head of Community Investment, said:

 “This past year has been a year like no other, and as our distribution and transmission businesses play their part in supporting the green economic recovery from coronavirus, we’re also committed to supporting our communities to build their own resilience as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Since its launch in 2015, the Resilient Communities Fund has provided £2.8 million to 540 community groups and charities working tirelessly across our network areas. Community spirit has never been stronger, and we’re delighted to launch the fund again to make a real difference to the communities we serve.”

In previous rounds, Wiltshire Search and Rescue (WilSAR) was awarded £20,000 to help purchase a new 4x4 vehicle and enable its 75-strong team of volunteers to support Wiltshire Police and the emergency services in finding, rescuing and treating missing and vulnerable people across the county; and in Scotland, Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET received £16,432 to enhance radio communication across the Argyll and Bute islands, including Colonsay, Islay, Jura, Tiree and Coll.

Initially run as a pilot, SSEN 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.

To find out more about the Resilient Communities Fund, read SSEN’s annual fund reports and apply from Tuesday 6 April, please visit: ssen.co.uk/resiliencefund.

To check who your network operator is to see if you would be eligible for funding, please visit ssen.co.uk/whoismynetworkoperator.

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.

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