12th June saw the launch of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution’s latest Resilient Communities Fund; enabling communities across central southern England to apply for awards that will help them to build resilience in the face of prolonged power interruptions, for example during storms and severe weather events which can damage the electricity infrastructure.

Running over the next six weeks from Monday 12 June, this year’s fund of £280,000 will be available to eligible communities, councils and charities in grants ranging from £1,000 to £10,000. In exceptional cases, involving multi-community applications, funding up to a maximum of £40,000 can be considered.

SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund is now in its ninth year, and in that time has seen a wide variety of applications that have all sought to boost communities through improving resilience and responding to the needs of their residents in adverse and difficult circumstances.

The deadline for applications to the fund is 5pm on Monday 31 July, and applicants are asked to consider the following criteria for funding, which seeks to support projects falling under these two categories:

  • Resilience for emergency events – To enhance community facilities, services and communication specifically to support the local response in the event of a significant emergency such as extended power loss.
  • Vulnerability – To protect the welfare of vulnerable community members particularly during significant emergency events such as extended power loss, through enhancing their resilience and improving community participation and effectiveness.

The SSEN Resilient Communities Fund Panel, made up of organisations with expertise in community resilience planning, will review applications and determine which projects should receive funding, with the successful applications announced in the autumn.

Managing Director for SSEN Distribution, Chris Burchell, said:

“SSEN is delighted to, once more, open its Resilient Communities Fund and we look forward to welcoming applications from communities, charities and councils across our distribution areas and all manner of rural and urban areas, each with their own unique needs.

“This latest fund of £280,000 will make a huge difference to communities and the challenges they may face due to our changing weather patterns, which bring the potential for power cuts, flooding or extreme heat.

“Our Resilient Communities fund has helped hundreds of communities and vulnerable community members since it started in 2015, and we look forward to being able to support even more schemes this year; helping to build stronger communities for all of our customers living and working in central southern England.”

Set up in 2015, the Resilient Communities Fund has provided £4.7 million to 680 not-for-profit community groups and charities. Following the conclusion of this final year of the Resilient Communities Fund, SSEN Distribution will be developing and launching a new fund in late autumn of 2023. While continuing to support community resilience, this new fund will seek to include environmental resilience and the adoption of low carbon technologies. Full details and timescales will be announced later this year.

To find out more about the Resilient Communities Fund, read SSEN’s annual fund reports and apply for funding, please visit https://www.ssen.co.uk/RCF/.