Charities, environmental projects and voluntary organisations in the areas around a South Yorkshire wind farm are being urged to apply for grants from the growing community benefits fund linked to it.
Banks Renewables directs over £6,800 of the revenues generated by the Hazlehead wind farm, which sits to the west of Barnsley between the villages of Crow Edge and Carlecotes, into the fund every year.
Over £50,000 has so far been made available since the wind farm began to generate green electricity at the end of 2011, and a funding committee including representatives of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Dunford Parish meets every few months to decide how the money can best be allocated to meet local priorities.
With around £20,000 currently available to fund local community projects, Banks Renewables wants more local people to investigate if their favourite group or good cause might be the next name to join the list of grantees.
Eligibility for funding is normally restricted to schemes within the parish of Dunford, but projects outside this area may be eligible if it can be shown that they benefit people living within it.
The Hazlehead wind farm generates almost 17,900 MW of green electricity every year, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of more than 4,500 homes and to displace over 6,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network per annum.
Earlier this year, a £4,460 grant from the Hazlehead fund enabled Dunford Parish Community Association to install a new infra-red CCTV system at the Crow Edge Community Centre that it manages, which has at least two cameras providing coverage of every part of the building’s exterior, as well as of the playing fields and nearby roads.
It was the fourth time that Banks had contributed towards improvement works at the centre, with previous grants totalling almost £15,000 supporting different parts of a programme of major repair and improvement carried out over the last few years in order to secure the building’s future.
Alec Barber, treasurer at Dunford Parish Community Association, says: “Banks Renewables’ backing has enabled us to undertake and complete a range of projects that might otherwise have remained out of reach or taken far longer to fund, and we remain very grateful for their continuing support.”
Applications to the Hazlehead wind farm community benefits fund can be made at any time, and well over £150,000 is expected to be generated in total for the fund over the wind farm’s 25-year lifespan.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “The Hazlehead wind farm community benefits fund was designed to improve the range of facilities and opportunities available to local people, and we’ve been able to support some very interesting and impactful local projects over the last few years.
“We want to ensure that everyone knows what’s available from the fund and how they can apply for grants from it, so that we can make even more of a long-term difference to the local area.”
Community groups or voluntary organisations looking for grant funding from the Hazlehead wind farm community benefits fund should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 or visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/development-with-care/bankscommunityfund/wind-farm-community-fund to check whether their project is eligible.