Community groups, environmental projects and voluntary organisations working in the vicinity of Leeds’ first wind farm are being urged to put their ideas forward for grants of up to £3,000 from the benefits fund linked to it.
As part of Banks Renewables’ development of the Hook Moor wind farm, which sits near the junction of the M1 and A1, a community benefits fund was set up which will provide around £250,000 of community funding for local good causes over the scheme’s 25-year lifespan.
Around £50,000 has so far been directed into the fund since the wind farm began to generate green energy at the end of 2015, with an independent committee including representatives of Leeds City Council, Aberford Parish Council and Micklefield Residents Association working to distribute grants in ways which best meet local priorities.
Grants totalling £25,000 have been made over the last five years, with Banks Renewables temporarily relaxing the fund’s eligibility criteria last year in order to enable community groups working to manage local impacts of the pandemic to access support from it.
But with a further £25,000 currently available from Banks Hook Moor wind farm community fund and the next tranche of revenues due to paid into the fund in the near future, Banks Renewables is keen to hear from even more local people and groups about how they think the fund could provide maximum support and benefit to the local community.
Organisations that have previously received grants include Aberford Bowling Club, the Friends of Micklefield School and playgroup charity Methley Mites, while funding has also been provided recently for Covid-related projects being run by the Neighbourhood Elders Team (NET) in Garforth, Micklefield Tenants & Residents Association and the Church Fenton Community Shop.
Eligibility is normally restricted to projects and activities within Aberford and Micklefield, with a maximum grant of £3,000 available, but projects outside these areas may also be eligible if they can be shown to benefit people living within them.
Grant applications can be submitted at any time, with the funding committee meeting regularly to review new grant requests.
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.”
The five-turbine Hook Moor wind farm generated more than 27,850 MWh of green electricity in the 12 months up to the end of September 2020, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of around 8,900 homes, and by doing so, displaced over 7,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, says: “The Hook Moor fund is designed to bring direct, long-term benefits to local communities, and we’re pleased with the quality and range of the projects that we’ve been able to support over the last five years.
“With the pandemic still causing major issues and public funding very hard to come by for many community groups, we’re actively looking to allocate as much of the Hook Moor fund as we can to projects that will make a tangible difference to local people’s lives and long-term well-being.”
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding from the Hook Moor wins farm fund should contact the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 or visit https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/hook-moor-wind-farm-community-fund