Island community groups benefit from Resilience Fund

Forecasters predict Scotland will be hit by bad weather over Christmas
Forecasters predict Scotland will be hit by bad weather over Christmas

Five community groups in the Western Isles and the Isle of Skye are benefitting from grant-funding worth, in total, more than £48,000 from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to help them prepare for severe winter storms and become more resilient in emergency situations.

The SSEN Resilient Communities Fund is supporting community groups across its network area in the north of Scotland with awards of up to £20,000 for projects that will protect the welfare of those most vulnerable, enhance community facilities or improve communication during an emergency weather event.

Initially a two-year pilot, SSEN has 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.

Based on 15/16 figures, this would allow funding in the region of £2m to be distributed to community-led groups and charities in the north of Scotland over the seven-year period.

In this latest round of funding, the island community groups receiving support are:

West Harris Trust is receiving £17,450 to purchase a generator and communication equipment for the remote island of Harris.

The Salvation Army is receiving £20,000 to purchase an Emergency Response Vehicle to be positioned in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis.

Isles FM, the local community radio station serving the Isle of Lewis and greater Outer Hebrides is receiving £5,022 to install Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) technology and Satellite (VSAT) uplink to bolster the resilience of the broadcast transmission service in the event of adverse weather.

Cuillin FM, the local community radio station for Skye and Lochalsh, is receiving £2,500 to purchase and install UPS technology and communication equipment for the station to help provide an uninterrupted service throughout the winter months.

Tong Community Council is receiving £3,298 to install a generator change over switch to support a rural community of 375 residents on the Isle of Skye.

In addition to the Resilient Communities Fund, SSEN has been working closely with local communities in the north of Scotland to help them create resilience plans for emergencies, including the potential disruption to power supplies during winter storms.

Duncan MacPherson, Commercial Development Manager at the West Harris Trust, said: “Two years ago severe storms and multiple lightning strikes left the local community without electricity, mobile phone signal and landline telephone service.

“We are delighted that this award will enable Talla na Mara, our new community venue to act as a co-ordination centre and to provide warmth and hot meals throughout any future emergency.”

SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund will re-open for applications in 2017.

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