“The Marr Wind Farm community benefits fund has been instrumental in helping our rural villages access funds for a range of much-needed projects which would have been difficult for them to afford otherwise.”
In response to the current cost-of-living crisis, grants from the benefits fund linked to a South Yorkshire wind farm are being made even more widely available to community groups and environmental projects working in the surrounding area.
As part of Banks Renewables’ development of the Marr Wind Farm, which sits to the west of Doncaster near junction 37 of the A1(M), a community benefits fund was set up to provide more than £200,000 of funding for local good causes over the scheme’s 25-year lifespan.
Grants totalling more than £84,000 have been made from the fund to local groups over the last ten years – and now, Banks Renewables is temporarily relaxing its eligibility criteria to enable more community groups to access much-needed support from it.
Grants of up to £3,000 have previously only been available for capital purchases, but the fund is now accepting applications up to £5,000.
Organisations that have previously received grants from the Marr fund include St Peter’s Church in Barnburgh, Hickleton Parish Council and All Saints Church in Hooton Pagnell, while funding was also provided for Covid-related projects run by Braithwell Parish Council, Barnburgh & Harlington Parish Council, Phoenix WoMen’s Aid and Mexborough Foodbank.
Grant applications can be submitted at any time, with an independent committee made up of local community representatives meeting regularly to identify projects which best meet local priorities.
Cllr Cynthia Ransome of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, who sits on the committee, says: “The Marr Wind Farm community benefits fund has been instrumental in helping our rural villages access funds for a range of much-needed projects which would have been difficult for them to afford otherwise.
“From defibrillators, play equipment and church grounds’ improvements through to new wooden benches, speeding signs and litter picking equipment, they are all helping to enhance rural life and will have a lasting positive impact for our residents who have pride in their villages.”
More than £101,000 has so far been directed into the Marr fund since the wind farm began to generate green electricity in 2012.
Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “The Marr fund was designed to bring tangible, long-term benefits to local communities and we’ve been able to support some fantastic community projects over the last decade that will enhance the facilities and opportunities available to local people for many years to come.
“It’s clear that many community organisations are currently experiencing significant financial challenges, so in agreement with our Marr Wind Farm Fund committee, we’ve acted to make the funds that we hold more accessible to more local groups.
“By doing so, we’re hoping to be able to support local community organisations with larger grants and would very much encourage them to investigate how they might use the money that we have available.”
Eligibility for the Marr wind farm fund is usually restricted to projects and activities within Barnburgh, Brodsworth, Cadeby, Hickleton, High Melton, Marr and Sprotbrough & Cusworth, although projects outside these areas may also be eligible if they can be shown to benefit people living within them.
The four-turbine Marr Wind Farm generated over 17,000 MWh of green electricity during Banks Renewables’ last financial year, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of around 5,700 homes, and by doing so, displaced over 3,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network.
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding from the Marr wind farm fund should contact the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342