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Communities encouraged to apply to £280k resilience fund


By Calum MacLeod

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Paul Lucas from Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET with one of the SSEN-funded VHF sets for community use across Argyll and Bute island communities.
Paul Lucas from Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET with one of the SSEN-funded VHF sets for community use across Argyll and Bute island communities.

Highlands and Islands communities are being encouraged to apply for a share of a £280,000 fund to build local resilience and protect vulnerable community members.

The 2021 round of the Resilient Communities Fund will open on Tuesday, April 6, for applications from 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.

The fund is supported by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution and SSEN Transmission.

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

It will also fund projects which 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.

Previous recipients have included Highland Senior Citizens Network, which received £19,941 to build resilience for older people within harder to reach communities, better connecting those most at risk during emergency events. Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET, a group of voluntary ham radio enthusiasts who volunteer at community events and provide emergency comms in times of need, also received £16,432 to enhance radio communication across the islands in the Argyll and Bute council area, including Colonsay, Islay, Jura, Tiree and Coll.

Rob McDonald, managing director of SSEN Transmission, 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.”

To find out more about the Resilient Communities Fund, read the annual fund reports and apply from Tuesday, April 6, 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.


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