SSCE Community Funds
The success of SSCE’s solar project in Whittington, coupled with consultancy work, means that for a number of years the Society has been able to use its surplus to make grants to local community organisations for projects aiming to improve energy-efficiency or provide other environmental benefit.
Organisations benefitting from the most recent funding include: The Friends of Hednesford Park who ran 6 practical conservation courses in the park for hard to reach groups impacted by the pandemic; Whittington and Fisherwick Environment Group to plant fruit trees near the BMX track to encourage children to eat fruit; Hednesford Centennial Lions Club to install a water supply for the War Memorial Garden to make the feature more sustainable.
We temporarily paused the Community projects at the end of 2021 in order to divert funds towards employing a part time project manager to progress new community energy initiatives for SSCE. Recent discussions have endorsed the value of the Community grants and we hope to reinstate the programme before too long.
Keep Warm, Keep Well (formerly know as Saving Lives with Solar)
The surplus from income derived from the Society’s panels on buildings belonging to the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) is being used to help address fuel poverty. The concept is that UHNM staff identify those people who present there with health conditions potentially related to fuel poverty, and request the patients’ permission to refer them to advice charity, Beat The Cold (BtC). BtC will then contact patients and help them address as many factors as possible that are contributing to their inability to maintain a warm, dry home. Funding to date for BtC from our surpluses now exceeds £91,000.
SSCE has worked closely with BtC and UHNM to get this project integrated into normal procedures for staff at the Hospital. Inevitably Covid severely disrupted the work of the project for a period but the numbers of patients receiving referrals has now recovered and the project work is again beginning to see real results with referrals to BtC having increased significantly from early 2022. In total almost 500 UHNM patients have now been helped. There is growing interest in the project within the wider NHS and SSCE has been helping to promote the project’s success in other areas.