£1 million fund launched for Highlands and Islands

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The fourth round of SSE Renewables Sustainable Development Fund has been officially launched this week.

The £1 million fund is open to non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities across the region and will be focussing on projects that boost resilient communities.

Successful projects will have the potential to deliver transformational social, economic and environmental changes in the local area and support long-term community development.

To celebrate the launch of the £1 million fund and showcase the benefits these awards can bring, the launch event was held at Sleat Community Trust’s new Hub. The trust is a former recipient of funding.

Morven Smith, head of SSE Renewables’ community investment, said: ‘It’s great to be here at Sleat’s Community Hub to launch the fourth round of the Sustainable Development Fund and see just what our funds can help communities achieve.

‘We’re very proud of the work the Sustainable Development Fund has already achieved in the Highlands and Islands and look forward to working more with these communities to help develop and deliver projects that can bring a real difference to the community, just like Sleat’s Community shop.’

The last round of funding provided over £1.2 million to 18 projects, including the Sleat Community Trust, which received £80,000 to contribute to the development a new community hub for the area.

The new, fit-for-purpose community shop houses an integral post office as well as a petrol station and brings food, fuel and access to postal services to the Sleat community. In addition, the new building houses offices for the Sleat Community Trust, allowing it to turn its old office space back into affordable housing.

Mike Shucksmith, Sleat Community Trust, said: ‘Sleat Community Trust is pleased to announce that it is moving forward with its redevelopment project at Armadale. The Sustainable Development Fund has provided the Trust with both revenue and capital funds making it a flexible grant award.’

The deadline for applications to be received is January 15, 2020. Fund guidelines and an application form can be downloaded from www.sse.com/sustainable development fund. The funds are expected to be heavily oversubscribed so investment-ready projects are encouraged to enter into this round of funding with the next round expected to open in autumn 2021.