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Electricity North West launches Storm Arwen Resilience Fund

Posted: 06/10/22

Communities throughout the North West have an opportunity to be awarded a share of £500,000 through a fund designed to improve resilience.

The region’s power network operator, Electricity North West, has launched a new Storm Arwen Community Resilience Fund and is now welcoming applications.

The fund is aimed at groups and organisations which supported communities throughout one of the worst storms the North West has ever seen.

Grants of up to £10,000 are being made available and in exceptional circumstances, grants of up to £15,000 will be considered.

Stephanie Trubshaw, Electricity North West’s customer director, said: “The level of community support shown during Storm Arwen last year was amazing and something we want to support and learn from.

“We want to be able to ensure the good work continues in the future should adverse weather cause disruption again and that’s why we’re launching our new Storm Arwen resilience fund.

“The fund is aimed at organisations and groups who will provide support communities in such events to support the welfare of their residents. The criteria we’ve set out is fairly open as we want communities to tell us what matters to them in a time of need.”

Electricity North West is working alongside Cumbria Foundation who will be administering the fund across the whole of the North West. In Cumbria specifically, one of the worst-hit areas during Storm Arwen, potential applicants can receive application support from ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT).

Applicants must be based in or provide a service to eligible communities, which are defined as those which were off electricity supply for 72 hours or more during Storm Arwen in November 2021.

During Storm Arwen, 93,000 properties lost power across the North West after winds reached 74mph and tens of thousands of trees came down, pulling down power lines and snapping electricity poles.

Electricity North West restored 18,000 properties automatically within three minutes and over 600 engineers battled the elements restoring 90% of customers within 48 hours, despite continuing winds.

The fund is in addition to the £6m the power network has invested in winter preparations this year to reduce the impact on or customers through severe weather events.

Who can apply?

  • local volunteer-led organisations
  • not-for-profit community organisations
  • local registered charities
  • parish councils

Please note: Applicants must be based in or provide a service to eligible communities, which are defined as those which were off electricity supply for 72 hours or more during Storm Arwen in November 2021 within the postcodes listed here.

Priority will be given to projects that achieve at least one of the following outcomes:

  1. Resilience for Emergency Events: To enhance community facilities, services, and communication specifically to support the local response in the event of a significant emergency such as extended power loss.
  2. Vulnerability: To protect the welfare of vulnerable community members particularly during significant emergency events such as extended power loss through enhancing their resilience and improving community participation and effectiveness.

As a condition of their grant award, funded organisations will be required to act as a focal reference point for the community for ENWL in the planning for and during future extreme weather or emergency events.

This means that during future power outage events (or other incidents), organisations agree to:

  • be contacted by ENWL
  • share communications/information/updates to the local community
  • be a reference point for support services

Examples of projects supported:

  • Community communications hub – possibly including mobile phone charging, secured internet connection, satellite telephone systems.
  • New or improved hot food and drink provision facilities at a central community hub/building.
  • Improved access arrangements to a central community hub/building to facilitate use by the wider community and any vulnerable groups.
  • Hardwired connection for a generator to allow simple connection of a temporary generator in a power outage event (e.g., external socket connection and changeover switch) to facilitate the efficient/timely provision of emergency power to central community hubs/buildings.
  • Provision of a permanently installed generator or enduring alternative power source to supply emergency power to central community hubs/buildings in the event of a power cut.

If applying for a generator applicants will be required to complete an additional information sheet and submit it with their application – see here.

Please note: ENWL will consider any request that meets the two principal criteria of Resilience and Vulnerability. It has been a principle of the fund since its first conception that ENWL do not intend to define the types of projects that will be supported, as they recognise that communities will know what will help them most to prepare for future emergency events. The projects listed above are just examples of what may be supported.

Eligible project costs:

Grants will be able to cover the initial cost of any equipment, installation, and initial set up costs. They will not cover warranties, insurance, ongoing maintenance, consumables, or on-going licence costs.

Consideration should be given to how your project fits with any local community emergency plan. If purchasing equipment, consider how it will be stored and maintained. For capital items a minimum of two quotes are required.

What the Fund will not support in addition to our normal exclusions:

  • individuals
  • communities who do not meet the eligibility criteria
  • retrospective funding

How much can you apply for?

Grants will normally be between £1,000 and £10,000 over one year. In exceptional circumstances grants up to £15,000 may be considered. If your project requires more support than this and/or you would like to discuss making an application, please contact Grants Officer Ellen Clements as per details below.

Please complete the online application form here.

For more information about the fund, please visit here.

Click here to read Electricity North West’s news article.