Almost £250,000 has been invested in 11 community-led projects across Scottish Borders through the SSE Renewables and Clyde Wind Farm (Scotland) Ltd, Sustainable Development Fund, helping support long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of communities.

These include a project to help develop a hub promoting employment and learning opportunities in local timber production and wood craft; support for an exhibition and collection celebrating a famous Borders son; empowering a community to identify approaches towards achieving net zero in their area and the upgrade of a variety of community facilities which will allow them to save energy and money.

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A project promoting sustainable community transport has also been funded, with the Teviot Electric Car Club receiving £23,514 to purchase an electric vehicle and install a new charging point for people to use in and around Hawick.

Andy Maybury, Chair of Teviot Electric Car Club said: “The grant from the SSER Sustainable Development Fund has allowed us to expand our car club fleet through the purchase of a Smart Fortwo electric vehicle. This new car is fun to drive and handles nicely, and will provide a cheaper, lightweight option for our members that is great for sustainable local journeys.”

Morven Smith, Head of Community Investment at SSE said: “This latest round of awards from SSE Renewables’ regional fund demonstrates the sustainability focus of groups across the Scottish Borders area. Community groups are keen to take the lead and help their local areas move towards net zero. As we celebrate 10 years of the Sustainable Development Fund, our panel are more committed than ever to supporting communities and help them achieve sustainability ambitions.”

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Other successful SDF projects include Greener Peebles to support a 3-year engagement project to raise awareness among young people of nature & environmental issues and sustainability.

Border Search and Rescue have also been awarded £40,000 to install an air source heat pump, solar panels, and battery storage in their new team base.

The other organisations to receive funding were:

Bill McLaren Foundation £17,000 to support an exhibition and digital, educational legacy programme celebrating cultural heritage and the 100th birthday of Bill McLaren.

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Birkhill House £22,500 to help create a new modern learning “Fleece & Fibre Hub.”

Burnfoot Community Futures £38,323 to develop a social renewable energy scheme in Burnfoot.

Chirnside Amateur Boxing Club £10,000 to install solar PV and battery storage at community gym.

Real Wood £20,000 to help develop a hub creating employment and learning opportunities in local timber production and wood craft.

Southern Uplands Partnership £20,000 to help bring together creative practitioners, environmental charities, and river specialists to focus on the communities and cultural life of the Tweed.

St Boswells Village Hall £20,000 to improve sustainability of historic village hall through installation of green energy solutions.

Traquair Village Hall was also awarded £10,700 to provide solar panels and battery storage.

The Sustainable Development Fund is in addition to SSE Renewables and Clyde Wind Farm (Scotland) Ltd.’s local community funds and supports strategic projects in regions where SSE Renewables operates.

The fund brings the benefits of SSE Renewables’ energy developments to a wider area and is directed at projects that can achieve significant impacts in local communities.

Currently, it’s estimated the SSE Renewables-backed fund will contribute at least £57m to regional development across Scotland over the next two decades.

This figure, and the life expectancy of the fund, will grow as SSE Renewables delivers more new onshore wind farms across Scotland.