SSE awards more than half its immediate 1m community coronavirus response in six weeks

Energy firm SSE has distributed more than £550,000 to community groups in just six weeks since it confirmed its £1 million coronavirus response to support communities.

Grants from its SSE Renewables and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) businesses have been rapidly repurposed and turned around with more than half the money awarded to voluntary organisations fighting the impact of the outbreak.

Community groups, local businesses and charities from Caithness in the far north of Scotland to Camberley in England and Coribb in Ireland have benefited to help the most vulnerable or support residents struggling.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, said community groups knew best how to quickly get help to those who need it the most.  He said: “Local communities are so impressive in how they’ve rallied and established response projects so quickly, and our in-house team have worked with them to treble our normal rate of grant giving in just six weeks.

“This immediate response to this unprecedented public health emergency is one thing but we know the road to recovery is going to be a long one.  SSE’s model for sharing the economic value of its investments with local places will prove to be even more critical in helping local communities and their economies bounce back in the medium term and we’ll be looking at how we adapt our community funds to stimulate recovery activity going forward.”

Projects already benefiting from the quick turnaround funds include Lanarkshire voluntary body, Covey Befriending which has received £36,907 to help support vulnerable young people and their families during the coronavirus outbreak. Dunbeath and District Centre in Caithness has received £10,000 to deliver hot meals, shopping and prescriptions to people who have self-isolated. The Feldy-Roo food delivery service in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, who received £47,300 to help with food and essential supply deliveries to over-70s and other vulnerable groups, as well as going towards vital PPE for staff.

And the Ice and Fire gin distillery near Latheron, Caithness was awarded over £9,000 to produce 2,000 litres of hand sanitiser through the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm linked fund. This is being sent out free to community groups involved in the coronavirus response, including front-line services and vulnerable individuals.  Jacqueline Black, of Ice and Fire Distillery said: "Covid-19 is not going away any time soon so I think that using hand sanitiser is going to be a part of daily life, and the ability to give it to people free is fantastic. “Without the financial aid and support from the local panel of the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm fund, this project would not have been possible.

"Their support was the catalyst for all the other agencies coming on board to provide a truly triple-helix approach to the project. This really shows how the local community can benefit from the fund and how vital the fund is at a time like this.”

SSE’s Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks business is making grants of £3,000 available to community, parish and town councils in the north of Scotland and central southern England through its SSEN Resilient Community Fund.  It will be distributing its awards throughout May.

And in Ireland, the funds have already helped support access to telephone and broadband services for the most vulnerable, meals on wheels deliveries, food and even craft packs for those self-isolating at home with children.
More information and a full list of the funds and projects can be found here.

For information on SSE’s Community Funds click here.