Power giant's £2.7m donation will help Highlands and Islands communities when they need it most
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A DONATION of £2.7 million to Highlands communities in the Highlands and Islands from SSE Renewables will support the region in its fightback from the challenges of coronavirus.
The 2019/20 SSE Renewables Community Investment Review details the investment the business has made in communities close to its renewable energy infrastructure, helping support a range of services, facilities and initiatives.
The funding decisions are made by panels of local people, helping the money awarded goes to where the local community believes it is needed most.
Apprenticeship programmes in the Highlands were awarded £114,000 to support young people in gaining the skills and experience they need for the future. The schemes are vital for rural areas to ensure young people have the opportunity to continue to work and live in their local area.
Among the young people SSE Renewables has supported is Rachel Murray, who was enabled to embark on an apprenticeship with a dressage horse breeder in Lairg. She then developed a new social media strategy which has enabled horses to be sold across Europe and this success has led the local company to recruit another apprentice as a yard manager.
Cromarty Community Development Trust and Nigg and Shandwick Community Council have been awarded £100,000 to improve the infrastructure in both communities for the new Cromarty ferry.
Jacquie Ross, community member said: “The communities of Cromarty and Nigg rely heavily on tourism and we hope that this improved service will encourage visitors to come to both sides of the Cromarty Firth. From the start SSE Renewables has supported us in our endeavours, not just financially but also with advice and guidance.’’
The report also shows that SSE Renewables recognised the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on communities and in addition to making £1 million available to communities for emergency responses at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 have committed to investing in Highlands and Islands communities in the years to come to help them build back stronger.
Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables said: “SSE Renewables is committed to investing in Highlands and Islands communities. We are thankful to community organisations for responding quickly to the coronavirus pandemic and we will continue to provide support as communities recover from this difficult time.”