Deadline looms for £300,000 community fund

Community groups across central southern England are being urged to take advantage of a fund designed to help them cope with the effects of severe weather.

Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) is offering grants of up to £20,000 for projects or equipment that would improve the welfare of towns and villages.

Although the Resilient Communities Fund has a pot of £1m, in this round £300,000 is available to non-profit organisations, community groups and charities working in SEPD’s distribution area of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Dorset, West Sussex, Isle of Wight and parts of west London, south Buckinghamshire and Gloucestershire.

The fund supports local projects that:

  • Protect the welfare of vulnerable customers during a significant power cut or emergency weather event;
  • Enhance community facilities and services that may be used in the event of a significant power cut or emergency weather event; and/or
  • Improve communication during an emergency situation to keep communities informed or aid contact between local groups and response services.

An independent panel will decide which projects will receive a grant from the Resilient Communities Fund.

Stuart Hogarth, Director of Customer Operations for SEPD, said: "With the deadline of April 1st fast approaching, I would encourage communities to submit their applications as soon as possible. There’s been a high level of interest in the fund already but we’re keen to see a good range of submissions with particular emphasis on support for the more vulnerable members of the community.

"In previous rounds we have funded hand-held radios to cold-weather kits for elderly residents to mobile generators – a few sensible preparations can make a big difference in strengthening local community resilience during extreme weather."

To find out more about the Resilient Communities Fund, or to download an application form, visit: www.ssepd.co.uk/resiliencefund.

To check your network operator, please visit: www.ssepd.co.uk/Whoismynetworkoperator.