A new £350,000 fund to support communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic opened for applications yesterday (Tuesday 31 March).

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has switched its existing Resilient Communities Fund to offer grants of up to £3,000 for projects that will specifically support community members in vulnerable situations.

Help is offered to projects that support those who are self-isolating or social shielding, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions. Examples include a social delivery service, online advice centres or a befriending scheme.

The fund is open to community councils, parish councils and town councils in SSEN’s network areas in the north of Scotland.

The initial funding round will close on 30 April and awards will be issued in early May, with priority given to particularly remote or isolated communities, especially those that contain high levels of vulnerability or low levels of resilience.

Colin Nicol, SSEN’s Managing Director, said: “In keeping the power flowing, safely and reliably, SSEN will play an integral role in the communities we serve during the coronavirus pandemic. As a responsible business, we believe this role also extends to supporting communities in their own response to the crisis.

“It’s encouraging to see communities pulling together at this time and we are pleased to play a small part in that response. I’d call on all local community council, parish and town council representatives to apply for a grant where they think we can help.”

Kerry Jardine, Scottish Government’s Resilient Communities policy manager said: “Groups throughout Scotland are currently focussing their energy on supporting their communities through the risk and restrictions that Covid-19 is presenting. We are seeing communities all over Scotland come together to develop their resilience to these challenges.

“This fund can be used to support community groups in their immediate activities and thinking ahead to their community recovering and building on their resilience to future challenges.”

For more information, or to apply, click here.

For more information on how SSEN is protecting its customers, colleagues and network during the coronavirus pandemic, please click here.