Gas supplier SGN has made a £5,000 donation to a Moray town after two major outages hit the community.
Thousands were left without heating during the disruption that hit Keith amid snowy weather and freezing temperatures in February and March.
At the time, SGN pledged to give compensation to customers affected but have now made a further donation to the town’s common good fund to benefit local causes.
Hopes donation will benefit many in Keith
A major operation was launched in Keith in February during the two-day outage that affected about 4,500 in the town and nearby Huntly.
Coastguard crews, council staff, police and voluntary groups rallied to support residents with hot meals and electric heaters during the freezing conditions.
Local councillors have now invited applications to the fund to use the money to spend on projects within the town.
Councillor Teresa Coull said: “It was a very kind and thoughtful gesture of SGN to donate this money to the towns of Keith and Newmill due to twice having a gas outage.
“Although it was uncomfortable at the time for many residents, SGN and Moray Council along with the volunteer group did their very best to alleviate the situation and all has to be commended for doing so.
Councillor Donald Gatt said: “This is a magnanimous gesture. I’m pleased that all Keith and Cullen councillors have agreed that the fairest way share this money is through the Keith Common Good Fund.
“It will enable the widest range of the community to apply for funds under long-established procedures to ensure the benefit of many local causes.”
Councillor Laura Powell said: “I would like to see a broad section of local people benefitting from this money and strongly encourage community groups to apply.”
What can the money be spent on?
Rules dictate that cash from common good funds can only be used for certain purposes.
These include donations to philanthropic organisations, maintenance of public parks, street decorations or the erection of a memorial or other statue.
However, the council is allowed to use “reasonable judgement” about how to use the money for the “benefit of the community”.
Application forms for the fund can be found on the Moray Council website.