The Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust is inviting applications for financial support to connect to the electricity network in the Highlands and Islands.

The Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust is an independent charitable trust set up in 1998 by Scottish Hydro Electric plc (now SSE plc). The Trust considers applications for support with the cost of connecting to the electricity network for individual home owners and community groups in the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) licence area in the north of Scotland.

Ron Brown, Trust Chairman, said: “In the last financial year, we’ve issued grants of over £98,000 to support individual home owners to connect to the network in SSEN’s distribution area in the north of Scotland, with almost £108,000 issued to support connection costs of community projects providing significant benefit to their local communities."

The Trust is looking to support up to 75% of the cost of connections for successful community projects and will also support up to 50% of the cost for individuals looking for support to meet the costs of a new domestic connection.

The next round of applications closes on Friday 4 September 2020, with future applications being considered by Trustees on a quarterly basis.

Iona Village Hall Community Trust is receiving a grant to provide electricity to Iona’s new village hall. Anja Jardine, Chair of Iona Village Hall Community Trust, said:  “Since 1928, Iona Village Hall has been at the heart of the island and forms part of the lives and memories of the 170 local residents and visitors alike. It is the place where our children grow up, have birthday parties, get picked for the team, perform their school plays, dance, and get married.  It is our debating chamber, our stadium, our cinema, and our gathering hub.  It is where people of all ages, locals and visitors, come together. We are completely community led and volunteer run.  We achieve our objectives by maintaining the sole community space on the island including organising or facilitating events and activities to encourage physical activity and reduce social isolation.”  

Cunningsburgh and Districts Agricultural Society is receiving a grant to provide electricity to their showfield. Hazel Mackenzie, Project Manager and Committee Member from Cunningsburgh and Districts Agricultural Society, said:“The objectives of the Society are to hold an annual agricultural and home industries show, open to all people resident in Shetland. On average we have an attendance of 4,000 people and have approximately 250 volunteers from the community and surrounding districts. Entries of livestock, home industries, crafts, produce, number approximately 2,700 on the day and we have approximately 40 trade shows on the show field bringing a wide range of interests to the village. The ground is also used for additional events: Vehicle Preservation Society, Horse and Pony event, Shetland Pony Evaluation Society, Mind Your Head Charity Fun Run and Weddings.”  

East Sutherland Rescue Association is receiving a grant to provide electricity to the Boat Shed in Dornoch. Gareth Dixon from East Sutherland Rescue Association, said: “East Sutherland Rescue Association (ESRA) is an independent charity which funds and operate an inshore lifeboat in the Dornoch Firth area. The lifeboat is crewed by volunteers and is one of only a handful of independent lifeboats in Scotland.  We provide assistance to the Police and Coastguard in the event of water based emergencies. Currently we use a generator for power which is not ideal. The electricity connection will help us to keep the kit dry, crew warm and treat any casualties in a warm environment.”  

Further applications are welcome after the closing date of Friday 4 September as the Trust meets on a quarterly basis to regularly consider applications.

For more information on the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust, to apply online or download an application form, please visit www.shect.org.