Communities in the Western Isles are being urged to take advantage of a competitive fund designed to help them improve their community resilience before applications close on Tuesday 15 May.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has opened the 2018 round of its Resilient Communities Fund with £220,000 available for non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities working in the area covered by SSEN’s distribution and transmission networks in the north of Scotland.
Severe weather conditions caused by “the Beast from the East” show how important resilience is to Scotland, with communities coming together to assist those most vulnerable and help keep the country moving during very challenging circumstances as Scotland saw its first ever Met Office Red Alert for snow.
The opening of this most recent round follows the issue of over £250,000 to 41 Scottish communities last year. Applications of up to £20,000 will be considered with an independent panel deciding which projects are to receive grants from this round of funding.
SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund supports 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 first three rounds of the fund were highly competitive, with 96 organisations being allocated a total of £565,000.
Successful grants included projects to: improve community flood defences; enhance facilities in local emergency centres; purchase emergency vehicles for remote locations and testing new ways to build the personal resilience of those most vulnerable in SSEN’s communities.
Norman Kerr OBE, Director of Energy Action Scotland and Chair of the Resilient Communities Fund panel, said: “We would encourage communities in the Western Isles to submit their applications to the fund as soon as possible. The past rounds of the fund were oversubscribed and we expect similar demand this time.
“In this round we are keen to see strong submissions, which strengthen local resilience plans including purchasing equipment or training volunteers.
“This fund is a huge support to creating resilient communities and I believe it demonstrates SSEN’s drive to support communities who are at the heart of what the company does.”
Lisa Doogan, Director of Customer Relationship Management at SSEN, added: “Our Resilient Communities Fund gives us a great opportunity to help our communities prepare for winter weather and emergency situations, boosting their resilience to prepare for any challenges they may face.
“We are committed to supporting our local communities all year round, particularly during power cuts and extreme weather events, but we also want to help customers living in our cities, towns and villages build their own local resilience too.”
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, allowing funding in the region of £2m to be distributed to community-led groups and charities in the north of Scotland.
To find out more about the SSEN Resilient Communities Fund, or to download an application form, 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