Wider reach for South Yorkshire wind farm benefits fund

October 21, 2021 | Community News

Pictured above: (standing) Lewis Stokes of The Banks Group with Steve Dobson and Cera O’Rourke, volunteer presenters at Penistone FM, which used a £3,000 grant from the Hazlehead wind farm fund in 2017 to purchase new recording and editing equipment

Access to a fund linked to a South Yorkshire wind farm is being widened to enable more local charities, environmental projects and voluntary organisations to benefit from it.

As part of the development of the Hazlehead wind farm, which sits to the west of Barnsley, Banks Renewables created a community benefits fund which will provide around £170,000 of funding across its 25-year lifespan.

Lewis Stokes: "Allowing applications from a wider local area is the appropriate thing to do in order to further enhance the benefits that the Hazlehead wind farm delivers to South Yorkshire."

More than £36,000 has so far been allocated to a range of different projects since the wind farm began to generate green electricity at the end of 2011, with a funding committee including representatives of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Dunford Parish meeting every few months to decide how the money can best be allocated to meet local priorities.

Eligibility for funding is normally restricted to schemes within the parish of Dunford, although projects outside this area may be eligible if it can be shown they benefit people living within it.

But with almost £30,000 currently available to fund local community projects, the funding committee and Banks Renewables have now decided to consider applications from all community groups and areas within the Penistone West Ward of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council for an initial 12-month period.

Cllr Hannah Kitching: “We are delighted that the offer has been extended to the wider Penistone West area….I’ll be encouraging them to put forward applications so that this fund can continue to make investments in our community.”

Applications to the Hazlehead wind farm community benefits fund can be made at any time, with funding generally directed towards capital projects.

Previous beneficiaries include Dunford Parish Community Association, St Anne’s Church in Carlecotes and Penistone Community Radio.

Pictured above: A primary school visit to Hazlehead wind farm

 

Cllr Hannah Kitching of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council says: “The Hazlehead wind farm fund has supported a number of fantastic small projects across the Dunford Parish Council area over recent years, including renovations to the community centre and improvements to the children’s playground.

“We are delighted that the offer has been extended to the wider Penistone West area, where we have many community groups who might benefit from additional funding.

“I’ll be encouraging them to put forward applications so that this fund can continue to make investments in our community.”

The three-turbine Hazlehead wind farm, which lies between the villages of Crow Edge and Carlecotes, generated over 15,200 MW of green electricity in the 12 months to the end of August, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of more than 4,900 homes and to displace over 3,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network.

Banks Renewables has also recently commenced a 25-year project with National Grid which will enhance biodiversity and protect the indigenous flora and fauna across 13.5 hectares of rare upland heathland close to the Hazlehead site.

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.

“With the amount of money currently available from the fund, along with the pressure that many community groups are feeling on their finances due to the pandemic, we felt that allowing applications from a wider local area was the appropriate thing to do in order to further enhance the benefits that the Hazlehead wind farm delivers to South Yorkshire.

“We’re keen to hear from as many individuals and groups as possible about the ways in which they believe we can best allocate grants from the fund in order to 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 the fund manager 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.

 

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