£3 million boost to communities from SSE

SSE has distributed £3.1 million in funding to hundreds of UK community projects across the UK in the last year.  

The investment has helped transform communities up and down the country including new and improved sports and recreation facilities, community broadband projects and access to skills and development training.

SSE’s Community Investment Annual Review – Making an Impact is published today and reveals that for every £1 awarded by SSE through its grant-making, projects were able to secure an additional £2.78 in match funding from other sources, raising the overall impact of the funding to an impressive £8.6 million to great causes.

Jim Hunter, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Highlands and Islands and a member of SSE’s Sustainable Development Fund Panel, said: “SSE’s community investment funds provide help that might not otherwise be available, especially in places where it’s difficult to access services and where population may have been falling.

“SSE believes it’s important to give local communities the chance to make a go of projects they’re convinced will improve their locality’s prospects in the future and the scale of the investment shows just what an impact SSE can make.”

SSE’s Director of Sustainability, Rachel McEwen, said: “Funding of this scale can energise, reinvigorate and transform communities and at SSE we feel we have a duty to create the conditions whereby communities can make the most of that opportunity. We think the best way to achieve this is for the grant decisions to be made by local people.”

SSE’s community investment funds are part of a commitment made during the development of the company’s onshore wind and hydro projects in the UK, with funding decisions taken by independent community panels or trusts.

A total of 328 community and not-for-profit groups were awarded funding by SSE with an average value of over £9,500. Growing community facilities and services continued to be a focus for communities this year, with panels awarding £1.3 million in funding to projects such as a new community broadband service in the Borders. Improving sports and recreation facilities was also a growing theme, receiving almost £700,000 in support, including a £250,000 grant to Biggar Rugby Club for the installation of new state-of-the-art pitches for community use.

Strathnairn, Strathdearn and Stratherrick and Foyers communities are the latest to benefit as construction began on Dunmaglass Wind Farm, 25km south of Inverness.  The fund will benefit the local community to the tune of £14 million over its lifetime.

At the same time, as part of SSE’s commitment to the Living Wage it has also pledged that any individuals in posts supported by SSE’s community funding programme will be paid at least the Living Wage.  The commitment, under the Living Wage Friendly Funder Scheme ensures SSE continues to support skilled and well paid roles throughout the communities it serves.