Community groups working to manage the impacts of the pandemic in the areas around a West Yorkshire wind farm are being reminded of the funding available to them from the benefits fund linked to it.
Earlier this year, operator Banks Renewables temporarily relaxed the eligibility criteria for grants from the Hook Moor wind farm fund, which is usually restricted to supporting capital expenditure projects in the immediate surrounding area.
The family-owned firm worked with local councillors to identify the most appropriate projects to support, with grants worth just under £5,000 being approved and paid over to three local organisations.
But in light of the continuing impacts of the pandemic, Banks Renewables has moved to keep the fund open to applications from local groups responding to urgent community needs.
Previous donations made from the Hook Moor wind farm fund include a £1,500 grant given to the Neighbourhood Elders Team (NET) in Garforth, which supports people over the age of 60 and their carers who live in the 13 villages of East Leeds.
A further £1,500 grant was given to the Micklefield Tenants Residents Association, which works to improve the conditions for residents of the village and which worked 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.
Cllr James Lewis, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and chair of the Hook Moor wind farm community fund committee, says: “Our area’s response to Covid-19 has been fantastic and it’s becoming clearer local people and communities will continue to need support and supplies in the months ahead. I’m pleased that more funding has been released and I’d encourage local groups to apply.”
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 25,300MWh 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.
In total, The Banks Group has donated has donated almost £72,000 to 44 organisations across northern England and Scotland in support of a wide range of pandemic-related projects, and in its most recent financial year, donated around £450,000 in total to community improvement schemes and good causes in those areas.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “The responses of the groups that we’ve already supported towards recognising and addressing specific needs in their communities has been truly inspirational and we’re honoured to have been able to help fund their excellent work.
“The Hook Moor fund is designed to bring direct, long-term benefits to local communities, and with the pandemic still causing major issues for many people, we wanted to make sure we were still able to provide support where it was most needed.
“We’re continuing to work with community leaders across the local area to see where this funding might have the greatest impact and are moving as quickly as we can to get it into the right community groups’ hands.”