Four community groups on the Western Isles have been provided grants worth, in total, more than £28,000 to help them prepare for severe winter storms and emergency situations.
Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution’s (SHEPD) Resilient Communities Fund is supporting communities across its network area in the north of Scotland with awards up to £20,000 to protect the welfare of vulnerable customers, enhance community facilities and services or improve communication during an emergency weather event.
The Western Isles community groups that received the funds were:
Uist Radio received £15,000 to purchase generators, a stereo FM receiver transmitter and rechargeable radios to enable the station to broadcast during power outages.
Bay of Harris Trust received £6,250 to purchase a generator, food flasks, battery powered LED lights, battery powered radios and corded phone and satellite internet
Bethesda Care Home received £3,886 to connect essential facilities to the nursing home’s generator.
Bernera Community Association received £3,437 to purchase a diesel powered generator and space heaters for the Community Centre
Funding decisions were made by a panel of representatives from Energy Action Scotland, British Red Cross, the Scottish Government, and SHEPD.
In addition to the fund SHEPD, which has recently launched its ‘We’re ready for winter. Are you?’ campaign, has been working closely with local communities to help them create a resilience plan for emergencies, including potential disruption to power supplies during winter storms.
Simon Horne, SHEPD’s Manager on the Western Isles, said: “We are ready for winter and with this fund we want to make sure the communities we serve are prepared too. We can’t control the elements, and while our network is very resilient during bad weather, we appreciate communities can find themselves without power during storm conditions.
“We do whatever we can to get them safely reconnected and our Priority Service Register makes sure our vulnerable customers are cared for.
“People on the Western Isles are proud of their communities and the way they take responsibility and care for each other during an emergency situation. This fund is designed to help communities put their resilience plans into operation, which will ensure people in their village, town or area remain safe.
“The fund was popular and unfortunately not every application was successful. However, we will work closely with each group to help them understand why their application wasn’t successful, help them plan for emergency situations and work with them so they can reapply for the next round of funding, which opens next year.”
Norman Kerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland, said: “This fund will undoubtedly help a number of rural and remote communities become more resilient in times of bad weather. SHEPD is to be applauded for firstly making the funds available and secondly for supporting their customers in this unique way.
“I hope the successful communities never actually need to make use of the equipment these awards will provide but it’s good to know they are much better prepared in times of harsh weather. I would also urge vulnerable householders living in the SHEPD area to make use of the Priority Services Register to bring added support in times of power disruption.”
If people experience a power cut they should contact us on 0800 300 999 or if they would like to find out more about our Priority Service Register, register themselves, family members or friends they should contact SSEPD on 0800 294 3259 visit https://www.ssepd.co.uk/PriorityServices/ for more details.
To find out more about the Resilient Communities Fund, please visit: website