20 September 2021

Huntly community groups share cash windfall following this year's gas outages

Several community groups have shared a £5,000 windfall following the gas outages which impacted Huntly earlier this year.

Thousands of residents and businesses were without gas in February and March after the failure of a transmission regulator station cut off supplies during a particular cold spell of wintry weather.

During the incidents, the community quickly rallied to support and assist those affected – with offers of hot food, plumbers to assist with gas connections and volunteers helping to deliver heaters and hotplates being massively-appreciated by all concerned.

Following the incidents, gas network company SGN donated £5,000 to Aberdeenshire Council with which to support local causes in recognition of the valuable assistance the local authority and the community provided during the incident.

Having promoted the fund locally and sought applications, the Marr Area Manager’s team can reveal that the following local activities and projects have been successful:

Gordon Rural Action - £700
To support ‘Hae a Blether’ - a volunteer run telephone friendship service, offering isolated or lonely people in the Huntly district a free weekly chat with a local volunteer. The service will be open to everyone, but the main users are expected to be the elderly, people who live on their own and have no family support and people isolated due to personal circumstances such as single parents or health conditions. 

Huntly Cricket Club Juniors - £404 
For the purchase of additional training kit for the club to facilitate the club commencing junior training from primary 2. The project will enable younger children to participate in sport and enhance the skills of the older children within the junior section.

Gordon Primary School PTA - £1,000
To improve the playground outdoor space by planting flowers and vegetables, planting flowers in small pots to gift to local old folks’ homes, and building bird boxes to place around the trees and fence. Children will benefit from learning about life cycles, sustainability, and making links with older community members. The wider community will benefit from a lovely school environment as they pass by.

Huntly Business Association - £985 
To stage local promotions encouraging more Huntly businesses to take part in the next Fiver Fest in October 2021 and supporting the promotion of Huntly as a destination of choice for shopping and leisure to persons in neighbouring towns and across the Aberdeenshire area.  The project is expected to benefit the entire community including supporting existing local businesses, attracting new businesses, and customers from Huntly and further afield.

Networks of Wellbeing - £1,000
To run a series of afternoon ‘Tea Parties’ in Huntly which are free and open to anyone in the community to provide an activity which brings people together to rebuild connections and make new friendships. Anyone from the Huntly area will be able to benefit from the project.  The events would be open to all and everyone would be welcome.

Friends of Huntly Jubilee Hospital - £911
To provide a wall-mounted TV for Rothieden Ward so that patients can benefit from some home comfort while in their beds and to purchase, bulbs, compost and seasonal bedding for the gardens and to refurbish outdoor furniture and paint fences around the Rothieden Garden.

 Welcoming the donation, local councillor and Marr Area Committee chair, John Latham, said: “On behalf of Aberdeenshire Council I would like to express my sincere thanks to SGN for their generous donation which will make a real difference to several very deserving local causes.

"While the gas outages earlier this year had a major impact on so many – particular the elderly and infirm – the rapid response from all agencies and the close partnership working within the community itself, must be applauded. I wish all the groups the very best of success in their forthcoming endeavours which will make a real difference to all those they aim to support in and around Huntly.”

John Lobban, SGN managing director for Scotland & Northern Ireland, added: “We’re delighted to be able to give back to the Huntly and Keith communities. We hope our donation will go some way in thanking the residents and businesses affected for their understanding and patience while they were without their gas supplies.

"We’re incredibly touched by the support we received and are proud to be part of a community who went above and beyond to help each other, especially those most vulnerable.”