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North and north-east communities share £80,000 pot to help vulnerable people during pandemic

Kate Redpath, a volunteer with Cromar Community Council, and Jennifer Mitchell from VSA
Kate Redpath, a volunteer with Cromar Community Council, and Jennifer Mitchell from VSA

Communities across the north and north-east have been awarded tens of thousands of pounds by an energy company to help them support others during the pandemic.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has handed out more than £80,000 to 38 different causes across the region.

These funds will be used to help isolated people in care homes communicate with their loved ones, host bingo games in a “virtual” village hall and stock food banks.

SSEN set aside £150,000 to support efforts which are helping the most vulnerable people in Scotland.

Aberdeen charity VSA was awarded £3,000 to purchase iPads for residents at its Bucksburn and Peterculter homes, as well as arts and crafts material and protective equipment.

Jennifer Mitchell, director of external relations, said: “We are truly humbled by people’s generosity in the face of such adversity and I cannot express enough how truly grateful we are to SSEN for their donation.

“The money will go towards helping support older residents’ mental wellbeing and will help them maintain vital visual contact with loved ones.”

In Royal Deeside, Cromar Community Council has assembled a team of more than 50 volunteers who are running errands for others across the area.

It is using its £1,550 donation to help cover some of their expenses and pay for a new video-conferencing network capable of connecting up to 150 people in Tarland and Logie Coldstone.

Chairman Simon Welfare said: “Residents are now using this to enjoy everything from bingo games and treasure hunts to illustrated talks, embroidery sessions, community ‘blethers’ and meetings of local organisations.”

A similar initiative is in place across Moray, where 17 community councils are providing lifeline services by delivering shopping and medication, and befriending people who are isolated and alone.

Additionally, SSEN has awarded money to schemes in Edderton, near Tain, and Lend A Hand Kemnay, which are also using volunteers to deliver community support.

And on Barra in the Outer Hebrides, funding will be given to several organisations to support a home delivery service, food bank, telephone service for adults with additional support needs, and virtual craft sessions.

Michael Hilferty, head of SSEN’s North Caledonia region, said: “It’s great to see how everyone across the region has rallied together to look out for one another, particularly helping members of the community who may be vulnerable and need extra support.

“We’re proud to be part of the local communities we serve, and in recent times, we know people have relied on us more than ever to keep the power flowing to homes, businesses, care homes and hospitals critical in the nation’s fight against coronavirus.”

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