Twenty-nine communities boosted by SSEN’s £480,000 resilience fund

New funding announced by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution and SSEN Transmission will help 29 community groups across the north of Scotland and central southern England to build local resilience and protect vulnerable community members.

This is the seventh year of SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund (RCF) which has provided over £3.4m of funding to 568 projects. In this latest round of annual grants, the RCF is awarding £480,000 to 29 successful applicants - comprised of non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities - across its UK network area.

The 2021 fund has extended its support to projects which achieve one of the following criteria:     

  • 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.

With a focus on projects designed to help vulnerable or isolated people living in SSEN’s north and south network areas, individual funding of up to £40,000 has been awarded to those demonstrating how their proposals will enhance and improve the welfare of those who are most vulnerable, expand community facilities and supply life-saving equipment or services. 

Decisions for these awards have been made by an independent panel of representatives including the Environment Agency, the Scottish Government, Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland and National Energy Action.

Morven Smith, SSE’s Head of Community Investment said:

“The Resilient Communities Fund is now in its seventh year, providing vital funding for local communities and the vulnerable residents within them. I’m delighted to see how many groups in this latest round have embraced our criteria and been successful in their applications, which will benefit so many people across the areas in which SSEN operates.

“It’s no small claim to say that - at SSEN - our customers and communities are at the heart of all we do, and through the Resilient Communities Fund, SSEN reinforces that commitment and helps empower them to build stronger communities now and for the years to come.”

One of the 15 community organisations in central southern England to benefit from the fund is the charity, Lowland Oxfordshire, which received over £6,600 for underwater sonar search equipment. Rebekka Welch, Search Manager and Fundraising officer with Lowland Rescue Oxfordshire said:

“This award from SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund will enable us to further support some of society’s most vulnerable individuals by helping us to locate people who have entered bodies of water. Whether this has happened accidentally or by deliberate action, the equipment funded by SSEN will help us to find them and hopefully return them home to their loved ones.

“We would like to extend our thanks to SSEN for their continued support to our local communities.”

In the Orkney Islands, THAW Orkney received £26,200 to support people with mental health issues or learning difficulties in areas of energy efficiency advice and money-saving measures. Robert Leslie, THAW Orkney Manager, said:

"We are extremely grateful for this funding from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks. We experienced high demand during the pandemic from Orkney residents with mental health issues or learning difficulties as they sought support to engage with energy efficiency programmes, energy providers, and income maximisation and debt services. It became clear, due to the volume of referrals and complexity of some of the work, that this was an area of our activity that needed to expand or we would be overwhelmed.

"This contribution from the Resilient Communities Fund will add resource to this vital work at a time we expect demand to grow considerably again, with rising electricity prices and reductions in other support mechanisms that have been in place during the pandemic. THAW Orkney will need to be at full strength to meet this demand, and this award takes us a step closer."

Set up in 2014 as a two-year pilot scheme, 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 fund, please visit the website: www.ssen.co.uk/Resiliencefund/.

For a full list of recipients from this latest round of SSEN funding, please click for the north of Scotland or central southern England