South Yorkshire community groups invited to apply for Penny Hill wind farm fund grants

August 15, 2013 | Community News

Community groups in south Yorkshire are being invited to apply for grants from the benefits fund linked to the area’s newest wind farm.

Banks Renewables will provide over £500,000 of community funding over the 25-year lifespan of its newly constructed Penny Hill Wind Farm, which sits to the south east of Rotherham and west of the junction of the M1 and M18, to help make a positive, long-term difference to local voluntary groups, environmental projects and community facilities in the area.

The allocation of the fund’s first grants was recently agreed by a funding committee which includes representatives from the five nearest parish councils.

The recipients of these grants will be announced in the near future, but in the meantime, the funding committee is encouraging further applications from local projects within the parishes of Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston that can be considered at its next meeting early in the new year.

Councillor John Swift sits on the Penny Hill Wind Farm community grants committee.   He says: “There are only five small parishes that can benefit from this money.  But those parishes are full of little villages with great community spirit and there are all sorts of small groups and organisations who could get some help.

“Community groups are very stretched just now and we want to spread this money out to as many people as possible.

“There are little groups who just get on and perhaps wouldn’t think about applying for a grant but I’d urge them to do it.  This is a great opportunity for them.”

In addition to the grants available from the Penny Hill fund, Banks has already invested a further £50,000 to help establish a Warm Zone scheme across the Rotherham area, which is already delivering practical measures such as cavity wall insulation and loft insulation into local homes in order to help to alleviate fuel poverty and improve domestic energy efficiency on a district-wide basis.

Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, says: “Our aim is to provide tangible benefits to all the communities in which we operate, and this first tranche of funding awards is just the beginning of the positive long-term benefit that the Penny Hill scheme will provide to the facilities enjoyed in the surrounding communities.

“We’re pleased with the number of grant applications that we’ve received so far, but would very much welcome more, so that as many community groups that operate close to our Penny Hill Wind Farm have a chance to secure some or all of the money they need to realise their various plans.”

Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for up to a maximum of £3,000 grant funding in the vicinity of Banks’ Penny Hill Wind Farm should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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