Energy company gives £2.7m to Highlands and Islands

Jim Smith of SSE Renewables.

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Energy company SSE Renewables has donated £2.7 million to communities across the Highlands and Islands.

The company, with headquarters in Perth, runs onshore wind farms and has a community investment fund.

Thousands of pounds have been awarded from the fund to projects in the Highlands and Islands and across Scotland, Ireland and England throughout 2019-20.

Earlier this year, the company also recognised the impact that coronavirus pandemic had on communities and made £1 million available for emergency responses.

Jim Smith, managing director, said: ‘SSE Renewables is committed to investing in Highlands and Islands communities.

‘We are thankful to community organisations for responding quickly to the coronavirus pandemic and we will continue to provide support as communities recover from this difficult time.’

Funding decisions are made by panels of local people to invest in a range of services and facilities.

Jim Hunter, Emeritus Professor at the University of the Highlands and Islands, serves on a panel and told the review: ‘Lots of communities look to us for assistance with all sorts of exciting and imaginative projects.

‘I help decide who’s to get some of our available cash. The most deserving projects, I think, are those that make a long-run contribution to improving the prospects and well being of people living in the communities where they’re to take place.’

Projects to receive funds include £114,000 towards apprenticeship programmes in the Highlands to support young people in gaining skills and experience.

SSE Renewables operates a single development in Argyll and Bute region –  the Tangy wind farm in the Kintyre Peninsula.

It is expected to generate £500,000 in community benefit funding over its lifetime.

Other projects to benefit during 2019-20 included £5,000 to Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry Community Councils; £4,049 to Spean Bridge Community Centre and £3,500 to Spean Bridge Senior Citizens’ Association.