Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has today announced the launch of a £200,000 fund to build local resilience and protect vulnerable community members across central southern England.
The 2021 round of SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund will open on Tuesday 6 April, with £200,000 available for non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities working to protect and enhance the resilience of those most vulnerable in the distribution operator’s south patch; home to some 3.1 million customers.
In March last year, following stakeholder consultation, SSEN repurposed its annual resilience fund to support communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic, providing grants of up to £3,000 to community, town, parish and borough councils. Within seven weeks of the start of lockdown, SSEN made awards of over £360,000 to 178 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
- 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 SSEN’s central southern England network area, with applications of up to £20,000 to be considered by an independent fund panel. The application deadline is Thursday 10 June and funding decisions will be communicated by September 2021.
Commenting on the launch of the fund, Eliane Algaard, SSEN’s Operations Director for Distribution South, said:
“This past year has been unlike any other and as we work to keep the power flowing for our 3.1 million customers in the south and support the green economic recovery from coronavirus, we’re also committed to supporting our communities; helping them 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.”
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.
To find out more about the Resilient Communities Fund, read SSEN’s annual fund reports and apply from Tuesday 6 April, 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