Powerful partnership to boost the wellbeing of Scottish rural communities

17th June 2021

SSEN Distribution, the company behind the electricity cables, wires and substations that power the north of Scotland, is teaming up with Scottish Rural Health Partnership (SRHP) to help boost the resilience and wellbeing of the communities it serves.

The partnership will help share information on important subjects such as personal and community resilience planning and mental health, as well as raising awareness of the free help and support available from SSEN’s Priority Services Register, making the most of SRHP’s wide network of contacts in the public, private and charity sectors across the north of Scotland.

SRHP’s focus on delivering improved long-term health across Scotland’s rural communities has already seen it successfully work with a wide range of groups, both in the public and private sector as well as charity organisations, and this latest partnership with SSEN will help broaden its reach even further, as well as enhancing SSEN’s own long-standing relationships across the communities where it delivers the power.

SSEN’s Scottish distribution network runs from north of the central belt to the top of the mainland and further on to Orkney and Shetland and includes all of Scotland’s main island groups.

In addition to ensuring a safe and reliable power supply, the company is committed to working with the local communities and has three regional Customer Relationship Managers, whose role includes liaising with community stakeholders and emergency services to bolster resilience during emergency events such as storms, and also raise awareness of the PSR which offers free help and support to those who need it most during a power cut.

Leigh Mair, SRHP’s Development Manager, explains more about the partnership and how it came about:          “The Scottish Rural Health Partnership, which is hosted by the University of Highlands and Islands, aims to be a leading authority and source of knowledge on remote, rural and island population health and social care in Scotland. The SRHP is committed to working towards the reduction of rural health and social care inequalities including mental health. We recognised that SSEN has a strong history of working with communities in Scotland and that they are always looking for new ways to support their customers in remote and rural areas such as the Priorities Service Register. We are delighted to announce today’s partnership between the SRHP and SSEN and are very much looking forward to working together in the future to help enable community resilience within Scotland.

Prof Sandra MacRury, Academic Lead for the SRHP in the University of the Highlands and Islands said “This is a great example of the SRHP’s role in collaborative partnerships and facilitating links between organisations and businesses in the rural sector.  SSEN have an excellent track record in this field and SRHP are very pleased to be working in partnership with them on a project which has great potential for impact in addressing the needs of our rural communities.”  

The partnership will see SSEN’s Customer Relationship Managers holding online knowledge-sharing sessions with SRHP contacts, discussing topics such as personal and community resilience planning, the PSR and also helpful information on what to do on the rare occasions there is a power cut. In addition to these online sessions, once regulations allow and it is safe to do so, SSEN and SRHP will host similar ‘in-person’ events at such locations as Inverness, Elgin, Shetland, Orkney, Stornoway, Perth and Campbelltown.

Pamela Harvey is Customer Relationship Manager for SSEN’s Highlands and Islands Region, is looking forward to the benefits this new partnership will bring:

“This is an exciting opportunity, and something myself and the other regional CRMs are looking forward to developing further. When we were approached by Scottish Rural Health Partnership, we knew straightaway it was a positive step, as it would open up an additional avenue for us to reach out to customers who may not be aware of our Priority Services Register, or who may not know who to call on the rare occasions the power goes off.

“Over the years we’ve developed great links with community groups and emergency planning teams across our regions, and now we’re partnering with SRHP this will expand our list of contacts, helping us to help our customers even more.”

Learn more about SCOTLAND – HIGHLANDS & ISLAND MENTAL HEALTH ECOSYSTEM here

SOURCE: https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/research-enterprise/res-themes/institute-of-health-research-and-innovation/srhp/news/

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