DOZENS of communities across the south west have been awarded grants from an electricity company to help build local resilience.

With awards ranging from £1,250 to over £28k, the recipients - comprised of non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities - will receive an overall total of more than £257k.

Successful applicants set out their cases for funding in 2023 which were subsequently approved by SSEN Resilient Communities Fund Panel.

This panel is made up of organisations with expertise in community resilience planning.

They decided which projects should receive funding in accordance with the fund’s criteria: resilience for emergency events and vulnerability.

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Wiltshire Search and Rescue walked away with the biggest sum of cash having been awarded £28,067.03 to deliver the Severe Weather Response Project 2023 by improving the equipment available to members of the team.

Hampshire Search and Rescue also benefitted from £10k which it will use to fund training to develop the team's rope rescue capability.

The dog branch will put a further £9,945.21 towards buying safety equipment for water rescue volunteers.

Salisbury Journal: Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs was awarded an SSEN grant.Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs was awarded an SSEN grant. (Image: SSEN)

Fordingbridge Town Council and Sixpenny Handley and Pentridge Parish Council were both awarded around £8.6k to buy new generators for their town/village halls.

Winterslow Village Hall will put £10k towards buying a back-up power generator for the village hall.

Wilton Town Council will buy a £1,750 trailer to deploy an emergency barrier during flooding.

Chilmark Parish Council was awarded £5,341 to buy flood defence equipment and Fovant Parish Council will put £10k towards a new power generator at the Fovant Youth Club.

Applicants were asked to focus their projects on helping vulnerable or isolated people living in SSEN’s south network area.

Eliane Algaard, SSEN’s Director of Customer Operations said: “It’s heartening to see so many groups awarded in this most recent and last round of SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund. Their successful applications have secured vital funding for their local communities and the vulnerable residents within them.

“No matter how large or small the award, each and every one of these groups has carefully looked at what will benefit their communities most.

“I’m delighted to see the variety, scope and individuality of their awards, and how SSEN is helping bring those projects to life; empowering communities and supporting them to become more resilient now and for many years to come.”

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Set up in 2015, the Resilient Communities Fund has provided around £5m to over 700 not-for-profit community groups and charities.

The 2023 Resilient Communities Fund was the final one, with SSEN Distribution preparing to develop and launching a new fund this year.

While continuing to support community resilience, this new fund will seek to include environmental resilience and the adoption of low carbon technologies.