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SSE Renewables powers change with £10 million donation for local communities across UK and Ireland

18 Aug 2021

SSE Renewables powers change with £10 million donation for local communities across UK and Ireland

SSE Renewables has donated £10 million to community groups across the UK and Ireland in 2020/21 – the company’s largest ever investment into local communities.

The donation not only recognises the growth of renewable assets being built to achieve a net zero future but also the support that has been provided to communities when they need it most during the pandemic.

The publication of the company’s annual Community Investment Review shows the breadth of support by SSE Renewables to local communities in the last year. A total of 1,023 community projects have been supported covering diverse initiatives as building community-owned housing in the Scottish Highlands to funding education scholarships for students from Northern Ireland and improving outdoor sports grounds in Connemara, Ireland.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic SSE Renewables had committed to providing 10% of the annual awards from its funds to support rural areas to cope with the Covid emergency.

As the scale of the impact became clear the company invested over £2 million towards pandemic-related projects across the UK and Ireland, helping groups in locations ranging from Sutherland in Scotland to Derry City in Northern Ireland and West Limerick in Ireland combat the impacts of the crisis.

"The past year has demonstrated to us all how important our local communities are. We are really pleased to have been able to provide financial support during this difficult year and continue to be inspired by the time and effort local people contribute to supporting their local communities."

Jim Smith Managing Director of SSE Renewables

“We are committed to using the green recovery and the growth of our renewables infrastructure to help even more communities in the year to come.”

From establishing befriending services, safeguarding homelessness services, to manufacturing PPE, the ability of rural communities to protect their most vulnerable residents was shown in every community.

Gavin Prince from Feldy Roo, a food delivery initiative for the over 70s and vulnerable in Aberfeldy, Scotland said:

“Feldy Roo, quite simply, could not have achieved the success it did during the pandemic without the amazing support we received from the SSE Renewables. The speed at which SSE Renewables arranged this support gave us the resources to feed our isolating residents.

“During both lockdowns we cooked and delivered over 50,000 meals, an astonishing community achievement which provided a real lifeline to many residents.”

Caroline Walsh, a Member of Killannin Pitch Committee in Connemara, Ireland, which received €47,000 to improve the GAA club grounds, said:

“We are delighted to receive such a generous grant of funding from Galway Wind Park. We hope the club will be pivotal to supporting people as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Annie Gibson, who received a wind-powered Scholarship to study Renewable Energy Engineering at University of Ulster, Northern Ireland said:

“The scholarship has been such a support to both myself and my family. It has eased an ever-growing financial burden during the pandemic. My goal is to contribute to tackling several long-term issues like climate change, reducing carbon footprint and global warming.”

In addition to community support from SSE Renewables’ operational wind energy assets across Ireland and the UK, the last year has seen the start of construction of new projects highlighting the role renewables play in supporting a green recovery and achieving a net zero future.

In North East England, SSE Renewables began leading the construction of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, its joint venture with Equinor and Eni which will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when complete. Alongside support for the local supply chain, the developers have established a £1 million construction fund to support the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects to help young people prepare for working life in a net zero world. The programme will reach out to 142 primary and post primary schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire and North East of England, and support more than 25,000 young people.

"The support from Dogger Bank Wind Farm will open up new learning opportunities for children in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths which I hope will go some way to help shape their future."

Councillor Victoria Aitken East Riding of Yorkshire Council

In Shetland, SSE Renewables is supporting the donation of around £72 million by the Viking Wind Farm over its operational lifetime to island communities, providing one of the largest community investments ever made by the renewable industry.

Chris Bunyan, Chair of Shetland Community Benefit Fund said:

“The Viking Community Fund has the potential to make a genuine difference in tackling the problems and issues that concern islanders. We look forward to working with SSE Renewables on the journey ahead.

Read our 2020/21 Community Investment Review here: 

Great Britain - Community Investment Annual Review 2020/21

Northern Ireland - Community Investment Annual Review 2020/21

Republic of Ireland - Community Investment Annual Review 2020/21