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Emergency fund throws lifeline to struggling island charities

Western Isles Council will administer the fund, which aims to help charities in need swiftly access emergency cash.
Western Isles Council will administer the fund, which aims to help charities in need swiftly access emergency cash.

Island charities that faced possible closure after a subsea cable fault cut off funding streams will receive emergency cash.

The fault between Skye and Harris meant a number of organisations were left without income from community windfarms left unable to sell power to the national grid.

But the island council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has launched an emergency fund with energy company SSEN to provide support for services helping vulnerable people.

SSEN has contributed £300,000 by repurposing £150,000 of its existing community resilience funds, which has been matched by the company.

The council will add up to £175,000 and will administer the fund, which should open this week and run for a year.

Calum Iain Maciver, the council’s director for communities, confirmed it aims to have it in place by the end of this week.

Council leader Roddie MacKay said he is “looking forward to seeing the funds being deployed as soon as possible to help support some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities”.

“We are actively engaging with the community organisations to confirm the groups that have been affected and will be putting in place a simple process to ensure the monies can be deployed rapidly to the bodies most in need.”

Mark Rough, director of customer operations, SSEN Distribution, added: “We welcome the opportunity to contribute to this fund which will address the immediate financial need of community groups and charities and allow them to continue with their vital work.

Rebecca Mahony, project manager of Western Isles Foyer, which provides accommodation, drop in and training services to vulnerable young people, said she was thrilled at the announcement.

“Western Isles Foyer is utterly reliant on this fund to be able to help ensure the company and charity remain viable to continue trading and provide vital support services to local vulnerable young people.

“We just now need to ensure that agencies such as Western Isles Foyer can access these funds at the point of need.  I feel confident that everyone locally is aware of Foyer’s plight and the need for immediate financial support and is doing all they can to ensure that the services we provide are saved from having to close on December 2.”

 

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