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New £280,000 fund to build local resilience and protect vulnerable people in north of Scotland

By Alan Hendry

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Paul Lucas from the RAYNET group which is among those to have benefited from the Resilient Communities Fund.
Paul Lucas from the RAYNET group which is among those to have benefited from the Resilient Communities Fund.

A £280,000 fund has been launched with the aim of building local resilience and protecting vulnerable members of the community.

The 2021 round of the Resilient Communities Fund, operated by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution and SSEN Transmission, will open on Tuesday (April 6).

The money is 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.

The deadline date for applications is Thursday, June 10.

In March last year, following stakeholder consultation, the Resilient Communities Fund was repurposed to support communities affected by the pandemic, providing grants of up to £3000 to community councils. Within seven weeks of the start of lockdown, awards of more than £148,000 had been made to 115 north of Scotland communities.

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

  • Protect the welfare of vulnerable members of the community 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 the SSEN Transmission and SSEN Distribution network area, with applications of up to £20,000 to be considered by an independent fund panel. Funding decisions will be communicated by September 2021.

Rob McDonald, managing director SSEN Transmission, said: “This past year has been a year like no other. 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.”

Examples from previous rounds include:

  • Tackling Household Affordable Warmth (THAW) Orkney received £15,000 to support vulnerable people across the islands, helping them stay warm in their homes.
  • Highland Senior Citizens Network received £19,941 to build the resilience of older people within harder-to-reach communities, better connecting those most at risk during emergency events.
  • Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET received £16,432 to enhance radio communication across the Argyll and Bute islands.

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 the annual fund reports and apply from April 6, visit ssen.co.uk/resiliencefund

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