The community fund linked to a West Yorkshire wind farm has been opened up to help support local community groups’ responses to the coronavirus crisis.
The Hook Moor wind farm fund usually prioritises capital expenditure projects for groups and good causes in the immediate surrounding area.
But in response to the impact of the pandemic, operator Banks Renewables has agreed with the local grants panel to temporarily relax the eligibility criteria and extend the area within which grants can be made.
And after working with local councillors to identify the most appropriate projects to support, grants worth a total of £3,000 have been quickly approved and paid over to two local projects, with several others also now in the pipeline.
A £1,500 grant has been given to the Neighbourhood Elders Team (NET) in Garforth, which is continuing to support people over the age of 60 and their carers who live in the 13 villages of East Leeds during the pandemic.
New systems have been in place that ensure that all NET’s clients are being contacted to identify any specific needs or just for a welcome chat, while a team of NET Staff, Garforth Lions and other volunteers are collecting food parcels from NET’s packing point and delivering them where needed.
The same amount has been donated to support the work of the Micklefield Tenants & Residents’ Association, which works to improve the conditions for residents of the village.
The Association’s members are working with other local organisations as part of the wider Micklefield Community Help Group to organise the delivery of food and care packages to isolating older and vulnerable local residents, make phone calls to help with loneliness and manage issues arising from isolation.
Cllr James Lewis, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and chair of the Hook Moor wind farm community fund committee, says: “I’m pleased funding has been released to local organisations who are delivering essential supplies to residents who are isolating during these unprecedented times.”
Banks Renewables’ Hook Moor wind farm will generate more than £250,000 of local community funding over its 25-year lifespan and has been operational since the beginning of 2016.
It generated over 25,300 MWh of green electricity last year, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of around 8,200 homes, and by doing so, displaced over 6,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “The Hook Moor fund is designed to bring direct, long-term benefits to local communities, and in this unparalleled time of need, we felt it only right to step up and do as much as we can to support the local community where it’s most needed.
“The Neighbourhood Elders Team and the Micklefield Tenants & Residents’ Association are doing invaluable work in supporting the most vulnerable members of their communities.
“We’re proud to be able to contribute towards what they are both achieving and grateful to the local funding panel members for their speedy and thoughtful response to the current situation.”