£300,000 to fund community support organisations during Covid-19

Applications are open for round 3 of the Power Partners fund from UK Power Networks

23 April 2020

More detail on eligibility criteria, deadlines and guidance for applicants can be found here.

Community groups and not-for-profit organisations are once again invited to apply for sums of between £2,000 and £20,000 for initiatives that combat fuel poverty and support people in vulnerable circumstances and those most affected by Covid-19.

This £300,000 per year community investment fund comes from UK Power Networks, the company that owns and maintains electricity infrastructure in the South East, East of England and London.

The third round of this significant grant scheme is now open for applications and will give support to not-for-profit organisations in UK Power Networks’ region.

In light of the Covid19 crisis, this round of the Power Partners funding has been specifically repurposed to support organisations who have found new ways to provide vital support for vulnerable members of communities and help people facing fuel poverty, particularly during the current restrictions.

Full details and criteria of the types of eligible projects are available in the application guidance here.

When Power Partners first launched last year it was designed to help alleviate fuel poverty and also fund energy efficiency improvements for community buildings. The scheme benefited 24 organisations including:

  • The charity deafPLUS trained advisors to help deaf clients with fuel debt to maximise their income and to budget.  The funding also meant they could publish online advice and make a series of British Sign Language (BSL) videos about how to get help with fuel debts.
  • Community energy cooperative Energise Sussex Coast is using an electric van funded by Power Partners to distribute food supplies to people who are ill and self-isolating. During social isolation the team are also delivering support to children who would usually get free school meals.
  • Tenterden Social Hub received a Power Partners grant to improve the energy efficiency of their tired community building by installing LED lighting, three new double-glazed windows and some efficient loft insulation. The upgrades have saved the charity £800 per quarter on their gas and electricity bills, helping them to provide better care for vulnerable people in the community.

Kerry Potter consumer vulnerability manager for UK Power Networks, which delivers electricity to 8.3 million homes and businesses, said: “We are aiming to help the people who are most affected by the social or financial impact of Covid-19.

“In the current climate of self-isolation more people will be struggling with their bills and unable to go to 'safe' community places to get advice and support. Through Power Partners we can work with local charities and organisations who have found effective ways to help people in vulnerable circumstances both during the lockdown and afterwards, and make a real difference.”

Bridget Newbery of the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), who are administering the fund, said: "We’re delighted to be working with UK Power Networks again to help more organisations find innovative ways of supporting vulnerable people and improve local energy resilience. We’ve seen lots of incredible projects funded through this scheme and looking forward to seeing what a difference this next round can make to organisations working to deliver real help at a local level.”

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