In response to ongoing pressures in the community, SSE is releasing the balance of the annual Community Fund, bringing the total funding to £170,000, with immediate effect.
Mark Ennis, Chairman of SSE Ireland, described the additional funds as ‘a significant contribution towards tackling an ongoing crisis.’
“At SSE we value our role as a member of the community and we can see first hand the difficulties caused to vulnerable groups by the coronavirus crisis. The way local groups, voluntary organisations and sports clubs across counties Tyrone and Derry have stepped up to the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis is inspirational and we want to do our part as well.”
SSE has confirmed that the funding will continue to provide accelerated cash support to community groups that are mobilising a rapid response to support those most-in-need. The funding will also be available to assist projects that will help rebuild the community in the longer term. While projects which did not receive support in the initial COVID-19 Response Fund application round will be prioritised at this time, community groups who have received funding already can also re-apply.
A total of 32 groups in the area around Slieve Kirk were allocated financial assistance within the last month to deliver a range of community support reliefs. Measures supported include delivery of food for vulnerable families, technology for children home-schooling, the provision of mindfulness and exercise programmes, and the production of PPE equipment for local care home residents and staff.
One of the groups in receipt of funding is St Matthew’s GAA, Drumsurn, who are providing a Meals-on-Wheels service to isolated families. Eunan Rafferty from St Matthews welcomed the support from SSE, commenting: “We are delighted and grateful to SSE for their generous financial support to the Club during the COVID-19 pandemic. This support allows us to provide much needed assistance to the elderly in our community during these extremely challenging times.”
Mark Ennis stressed the importance of assisting local people in a time of crisis, while planning for post Covid-19 recovery.
“We have always provided a Community Fund from Slieve Kirk Wind Park, but our funds wouldn’t have the necessary impact if it wasn’t for the dedication, commitment and persistent hard work of the local community heroes we are able to support. It is important that we respond quickly to emerging circumstances and that is why have made £170,000 available to support local relief projects.
“These funds can also help local groups as they plan for a post lockdown era. Community infrastructure will be essential as society emerges from this crisis and we hope to support those efforts too.”
Groups wishing to apply for funding can do so by downloading application forms from ireland.sse.com/SlieveKirk, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling Community Development Officer Michelle Donnelly on 079 21099663.
Conor Rafferty, footballer with St Matthews GAC presents Club Chairman Shane Mc Gonigle with one of the many food hampers which are to be distributed in the local community during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the support of SSE Airtricity.