SSEN launches £350,000 resilience fund to support community coronavirus response

Image of SSEN employee with branded vehicle in the background

A new £350,000 fund to support communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic is now open for applications.

Due to the significant impact on communities from the coronavirus outbreak, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has repurposed its annual Resilient Communities Fund to offer grants of up to £3,000 for projects that will specifically support community members in vulnerable situations.

Applications are being encouraged for projects that will provide extra help to those who are self-isolating or social shielding, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.  Examples include a social delivery service, online advice centres or a befriending scheme.

The fund is open to community councils, parish councils and town councils in SSEN’s network areas in the north of Scotland and central southern England. The initial funding round will close on 30 April, with additional rounds to open based on demand. Grant awards will be issued in early May to ensure timely release of funding to community groups.

In the event the fund is oversubscribed, the panel will give priority to applications which support communities that are particularly remote or isolated, contain high levels of vulnerability or low levels of resilience.

Colin Nicol, SSEN’s Managing Director, hopes the fund will make a difference as communities rally together to support those most in need:

“In keeping the power flowing, safely and reliably, SSEN will play an integral role in the communities we serve during the coronavirus pandemic.  As a responsible business, we believe this role also extends to supporting communities in their own response to the crisis.

“Following positive consultation with stakeholders and independent community fund panel members, we are delighted to relaunch our Resilient Communities Fund to help fund community resilience projects that will help those most in need.

“It’s encouraging to see communities pulling together at this time and we are pleased to play a small part in that response. I’d call on all local community council, parish and town council representatives to apply for a grant where they think we can help.”

Kerry Jardine, Scottish Government’s Resilient Communities Policy Manager and Resilient Communities Fund panel member, added:

“The SSEN Resilient Communities Fund provides a significant resource for communities to enhance their resilience to the challenges that are important to them.

“Groups throughout Scotland are currently focussing their energy on supporting their communities through the risk and restrictions that Covid-19 is presenting. We are seeing communities all over Scotland come together to develop their resilience to these challenges.

“This fund can be used to support community groups in their immediate activities and thinking ahead to their community recovering and building on their resilience to future challenges.”

Paul Bright, CEO of Citizens Advice Hampshire and Resilient Communities Fund panel member, said:

“Our service is experiencing an unprecedented surge in enquiries, many from people self-isolating or concerned as they have underlying health issues. They need help with debt, housing and financial worries. This fund will allow communities across south central England to help look after the most vulnerable. I am delighted and impressed that SSEN has extended their commitment to social responsibility and have raised the bar in offering to develop such a quick response.”

Since its launch in 2015, SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund has provided over £2.4 million to 362 local community projects to build resilience and protect those most vulnerable.  The criteria for this year’s fund was changed following consultation with SSEN stakeholder groups, who strongly supported opening the fund early and targeting coronavirus response.

For more information on this year’s Resilient Communities Fund or to apply, please visit

To check who your network operator is and to see if your community, parish or town council is eligible for SSEN funding, visit

For more information on how SSEN is protecting its customers, colleagues and network during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit

Article taken from SSEN’s website

Bitesize Funding Webinar with Berkshire Community Foundation – join us online to learn about new and future funding opportunities

Thursday 9th April, 11am – 11.30am, online interactive webinar.

This is the first of our bite size interactive webinars on available funding streams in West Berkshire. Elisha Russell from Berkshire Community Foundation will be presenting on the funding streams that will be available to apply for from September 2020 and how to use the summer months to put together a strong bid. These funding streams include; Vital for Berks Essential Resources (Core Costs), BCF Funds for Older People, Give a Child a Chance & Disadvantage in Slough.

Elisha will also providing training on the NEW Emergency Fund announced this week where grants will be awarded to help meet needs appearing as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.

This webinar will be run on Zoom and the only requirement is a computer/laptop/tablet to join with the ability to hear sound and aceed to the internet.
If you are able to attend please register for your place y clicking on the link below.

You are invited to a Zoom webinar. When: Apr 9, 2020 11:00 AM London Topic: Berkshire Community Foundation Funding Webinar
Register in advance for this webinar please copy and paste this URL:

Funding News – additional funding available in light of recent Covid 19 ourbreak

A number of Community Foundations and other organisations have launched funding programmes to assist local organisations in responding to the challenges of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Below you will find a list of organisations and the types of funding they have made available. 
Berkshire Community Foundation – Emergency Fund
Funds allocated to Berkshire through the National Emergency Trust Appeal for Coronavirus, together with the support we have received for our Vital for Berkshire – Coronavirus Appeal, are available for grants to be allocated to local charities, community and voluntary groups working to help people affected by the crisis. Grants may be made for charitable purposes to relieve hardship caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Greenham Trust
The Trust has put in place £250,000 of emergency Coronavirus funding which is available to benefit local charitable and voluntary organisations who are supporting the elderly and vulnerable people through this crisis in West Berkshire and north Hampshire. Greenham Trust has also launched a public appeal on its charitable funding platform

CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund
This Fund is to help smaller charitable organisations in the UK affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available and for those selected the money will be made available in 14 days.

SPORT ENGLAND Emergency Fund 
We’re making up to £195 million of funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus crisis. One part of this, our £20m Community Emergency Fund, is now open to applications from organisations experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations. There are also three other funds.
Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust 
Small Grants to Support Children’s Charities Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
Registered charities working with early years disadvantaged children in England and Wales can apply for small sums of unrestricted funding to assist them during this difficult period.
In response to the current pandemic, this funder has changed the application guidelines and processes for its spring application round with the aim of supporting small and medium-sized charities, which may need extra assistance at this time.

The Leathersellers’ Company Small Grants Scheme  – for emergency’s
Supporting UK registered charities particularly working with homeless people, victims of domestic violence, nursing care to vulnerable people, and provision of food and essential supplies. Funding is for small projects or to cover unexpected costs upto £3000.
COSARAF Hardship Funding – COVID19 Response
Applications will only be accepted from recognised social organisations such as charities, housing associations, schools and social services acting on behalf of a family or individual in need. The Hardship Fund provides grants between £500-£1,000. Applications are assessed every six weeks and you can expect a response within eight weeks of your application.

Arts Council England Launch £160m Covid-19 Emergency Funding
Arts Council England are making £160 million of emergency funding available to support organisations and individuals during the coronavirus pandemic.
Make A Difference Trust – MAD Trust Hardship Fund – Coronavirus COVID-19  
Small pockets of financial assistance to those in theatre experiencing unexpected financial hardship due to theatre closures as a direct result of Government advice aimed at containing the spread of Coronavirus.
Support for Theatre Professionals during Coronavirus  
Collection of funds and sources of advice or support for those in the theatre industry. Funds are available from institution specific funders and from those that support the wider industry.
Authors Emergency Fund
 The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, the Royal Literary Fund, English PEN with the T S Eliot Foundation, and Amazon UK join forces with the Society of Authors to support authors affected financially by Coronavirus.
PRS for Music Launches Coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund
The PRS Emergency Relief Fund has been set up to provide immediate financial support to Performing Right Society (PRS) members during the coronavirus pandemic. Funding is being offered to songwriters and composers from around the world who are facing significant financial pressure as the global battle against the virus continues.
Help Musicians (UK) – Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund
 Today Help Musicians has launched the Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, a new offering specifically created to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures that many professional musicians may currently be facing.
Government Launches Guidance for £500 million Hardship Fund
 Government has launched a £500 million Hardship Fund to provide council tax relief to help those affected most by coronavirus.
John Lewis Partnership – Community Support Fund
 A £1m Community Support Fund will be available to communities across the UK to help those in need in their local communities. Teams in each shop will work together with their communities to choose the best way to use the fund. Help could include setting up additional local delivery services to support the self-isolating, the vulnerable, the elderly and those looking after them; delivering boxes of staples to local care homes and community groups, and donating products to create care packages for customers to share with vulnerable neighbours.
Coronavirus Business Relief Support Schemes Now Open
Businesses across the UK are now able to access government support to keep operating in the face of the global economic emergency brought on by coronavirus.
Guidance Released for Covid-19 Business Support Grants in England
Business grant funding and business rates holidays are being provided for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England.

Five ways to stay motivated at home

Many of us are working from home now, including the entire CCB office so we thought we’d share our top tips on surviving and thriving in a working from home environment.

Set up a designated working spot

It’s easy when working from home to get comfortable wherever you please but to increase productivity, it’s important to set up a home office or at least a set working desk to help keep your mind work-focused and keep your work separate from other aspects of your home-life.

Set up a routine

With no set starting or finishing time or public transport to catch, it’s easy to work too many hours or perhaps not enough hours. Setting a strict start time to your day and setting an alarm means you will be in a structured routine. It’s also a good idea to have a dedicated finishing time so you don’t work too many hours.

Stay healthy

Try not to fall victim to unhealthy snacking and sitting at your work desk for long periods of time. Ensure you take regular breaks and make healthy meals, and also incorporate exercise into your day, making sure you’re not spending long, intense hours completing your work without moving


Isolation is actually a great time to start exercising – even without venturing out of the home. There are a many exercise classes on YouTube and local gyms have really stepped up to provide you with home exercises. Exercise has well documented benefits and will keep you feeling mentally positive as well as keeping you healthy physically. A big advantage of being home is that you can exercise on your lunch break! 

Reward yourself

Reward yourself through the day to keep you moving through tasks. The thought of a small reward at the successful completion of a task can be enough to make you push through. Having some chocolate, making a coffee or playing with your pets are just a few reward ideas.

Stay social

Working from home can be lonely. Schedule some video calls with colleagues and contacts throughout the day. Some home-workers even work in chat-rooms with colleagues on in the background for that truly “social” office feel.

Important Advice for established and new CV19 Support Groups from Volunteer Centre West Berkshire


Before you volunteer you must make sure you are not a person who is considered vulnerable before you help others. Check the criteria on the NHS website here: If you fall into any these categories we appreciate that you want to help and are grateful but please don’t put yourself and others at risk.  If are a volunteer and you start to feel unwell you must, stay at home and look after yourself first, this will also protect the most vulnerable that we are trying to help. 

Ensure you are familiar with your group’s safeguarding and personal safety policies.
Where possible, introduce yourself (carry your ID, driving licenses or corporate ID with you) and let them know which organisation you represent and that you are working as part of West Berkshire Council’s Community Support Hub. 
Volunteers should ensure they have a low chance of becoming infected. Where possible follow social distancing protocol (keeping 2 metres away) and don’t take unnecessary risks.
If possible wash your hands or use hand sanitiser gel after every visit.  If you are visiting a person to find out if they need help, knock on the door then step back, ideally 2m, make them aware of the organisation you represent before asking them what they need assistance with.
Make sure their request is for one of these things: food and supplies; collecting prescriptions and medicine; sending or collecting post; check-in calls.
Confirm their address and how they can pay.
Do not take someone’s bank card.
You will need to discuss the exact delivery details with them personally. When delivering items Do Not go into any houses. Place the items to be delivered on the doorstep before communicating with the person/family in isolation (call them on the phone, send a text message, ringing the bell or knocking on the door) & take at least 2 meters 3 steps back from the door.
Get conformation that the person has received it before you leave. This is to protect both you and the person you are delivering to.
Take care when handling food/items to minimise contact and try to wash your hands frequently ideally between each drop off or use hand sanitiser (if you have it).
When you have finished your rounds, and before eating and drinking, thoroughly wash your hands with water and soap for 20 seconds.

General Volunteer Safeguarding Advice
Let your family and friends know where you are going and what you are doing. Remember you can support family, friends and neighbours via video calling them too. Don’t take on too much. Sometimes it’s better not to offer than let people down. If you have concerns about a neighbour, friend or family member in West Berkshire, please call the Community Support Hub on: 01635 503579 or email on:

Only share official information given from the main government and NHS sites. If you feel comfortable, challenge misinformation. Follow Public Health England advice. Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face.

If you are worried about symptoms, please consult the NHS guidance. If symptoms are severe call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment. Immediately stop carrying out deliveries or in person support work. If you are collecting a prescription for someone else, follow NHS guidance. Most prescriptions are sent electronically direct to a pharmacy from the GP surgery and you can collect the medicine on their behalf if the person has told the pharmacy that they are happy for you to do so. In rare cases where paper prescriptions are used, the patient and person collecting will need to fill out an FB10 form.