£1m of Community Benefits from SSE projects in Highlands
Community projects across the Highlands - including a new visitor centre in the Great Glen and an essential upgrade to an off-grid community hydro electric scheme in Knoydart - will share £1million from SSE’s new Highland Sustainable Development Fund.
Funded by SSE’s onshore wind farms, the Sustainable Development Fund is open to all non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities working in the Highland Council region.
Over 100 applications were submitted during this first funding round and following a comprehensive evaluation process, an independent panel led by Former First Minister of Scotland Lord Jack McConnell awarded 29 projects a total of £1,045,000. Initiatives that demonstrated transformational impact, innovation or sustainability were given priority.
Examples of projects include:
Built and Natural Environment category
Nine projects received funding, including a £225,000 award to Scottish Canals for a new visitor centre, shop and five bespoke retail units for start-up businesses in Fort Augustus.
Community Energy category
Sixprojects were supported, with £75,000 awarded to the off-grid community of Knoydart to make essential renovations to their hydro scheme, the sole power source to the village. The remote community of Coigach also received a boost of £40,287 towards the development of community wind and hydro schemes.
Skills Development and Job Creation category
Grants were awarded to three projects in thecategory, including a £40,000 award to create an innovative mobile digital fabrication ‘lab’ based out of Wick High School, providing hands-on technical engineering experience with a focus on career paths to emerging industries.
Early stage projects
Awards of up to £5,000 were also available to support projects at an early stage. In total, 11 projects were successful in this category, receiving £51,800, including a feasibility study for a new surfing centre in Thurso and support for a community buy-out of a railway line in Strathpeffer.
SSE Sustainable Development Fund Panel Chair Lord McConnell said:
“At the launch of the fund, we asked for project ideas that were both sustainable in their outcomes and genuinely transformational to the local area. The breadth of applications made for tough decisions but I’m delighted at the reach and potential impact of the initiatives we have chosen to support."
All of SSE’s new onshore wind farms receive a community investment fund of £5,000 per megawatt of installed capacity, which is made up of:
- £2,500 per megawatt for local community projects; and
- £2,500 per megawatt for a regional fund, titled the Sustainable Development Fund.
You can browse SSE's projects and community benefit funds on the Community Benefit Register
A full breakdown of all 29 awards from the SSE Highland Sustainable Development Fund is listed on the SSE website.
Project ideas that are both sustainable in their outcomes and genuinely transformational to the local area