Wind farm fund grant sounds great to Heysham Mossgate centre users

November 19, 2018 | Community News

Pictured above, from the left: Heysham Central Councillor Carla Brayshaw, Mossgate Centre assistant manager Vicky Birchall , director Mike Greenhall, chair Jean Yates, director Geoff Robertshaw, Heysham South Councillor Colin Hartley and Lewis Stokes of The Banks Group

A popular Heysham community venue is turning up the volume after a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm paid for much-needed noise management technology to be installed.

Heysham Mossgate Community and Sports Centre provides a range of indoor and outdoor fitness and health facilities, including an outdoor 3G all-weather floodlit sports pitch, and also provides a venue for a wide range of community events held in its indoor hall.

Despite its popularity, the Centre’s management committee has been looking to improve the hall’s poor acoustics, which make it difficult for it to host events with amplified music or speech.

But now, after turning to Banks Renewables for support from the community benefits fund linked to the nearby Heysham South wind farm, a £3,000 grant has enabled the Centre to install specialist noise baffles which absorb sound energy, lessen reverberation and improve users’ listening comfort.

The management committee is hoping that the new sound installation will help it increase the number of functions bookings it can attract and thus grow the revenues it can generate which go towards meeting the Centre’s running costs.

Around 900 people already use the Mossgate Centre every week, and it provides a home for several sports and community-based clubs and organisations from around Heysham and the west end of Morecambe.

Regular activities in the Townson Way venue’s hall include fitness classes, parent & toddler groups, table tennis, yoga and badminton.

The Centre receives no public funding, and its entire running costs have to be met from the revenues it generates from hiring out its facilities.

Jean Yates, chair of the Heysham Mossgate Community and Sports Centre management committee, says: “Our hall is very well used, but the quality of the acoustics has always left much to be desired, and if any music or amplified speech gets past a certain volume, it can become distorted and difficult to hear properly.

“The sound baffles have made a world of difference to the hall’s acoustics, and mean that we can open it up to a much wider range of functions and performances for which it wouldn’t previously have been suitable.

“We have to meet all the venue’s running costs out of the revenues that we generates, and Banks Renewables’ generous contribution means we’ve been able to get this work done earlier than would otherwise have been possible and direct the funds that we have towards other priorities.

“We’ve already got 20 hall bookings lined up between now and Christmas, and we’re hopeful that we’ll see numbers continuing to grow into the new year and beyond.”

A community benefits fund worth at least £300,000 across the 25-year lifespan of the Heysham South wind farm formed part of the scheme’s overall development package, and was designed to enable Banks Renewables to deliver a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people.

The fund is ring-fenced for use within the parishes of Heaton-with-Oxcliffe, Heysham, Middleton and Overton, although projects in adjoining areas which benefit people living in these parishes may also be considered.

A funding committee comprised of local people and supported by a dedicated fund manager from the Banks Community Fund team sits every few months to assess the applications it receives.

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “The Mossgate Centre is a fantastic community venue that plays a central role in local life, and we’re very pleased to see revenues generated by our Heysham South wind farm being put to such good use.”

The maximum individual grant from the Heysham South Wind Farm community benefits fund is £3,000. Anyone interested in applying to the fund should contact James Eaglesham on 0191 378 6342 or via james@bankscommunityfund.org.uk to check if their group or project is eligible.

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