A LOCAL community group that supports a series of local projects positively impacting the surrounding area has received generous funding from a nearby wind farm to help combat social isolation in the community.

Leadhills Family Action Group (LFAG) has been granted £9,605 from the Renewable Energy Fund (REF) – a fund distributed by South Lanarkshire Council utilising funding from Banks Renewables’ nearby wind farm developments including Kype Muir and Middle Muir wind farms.

The group, which has been running since 2006, consists of eight team members along with a dedicated band of volunteers who help manage, distribute and apply for funding for vital local projects.

Environmental initiatives, mental health and wellbeing workshops, local music festivals, clubs for children and seniors and restoration schemes are just some of the projects that Leadhills Family Action Group has helped deliver – whether it be by assisting with funding applications or distributing the funding itself.

The £9,605 REF grant funded by Banks Renewables has allowed Leadhills Family Action Group to fund a podcast series which gave residents, school pupils and people from across the community the opportunity to discuss matters such as community, climate change and mental health and wellbeing from  a range of different perspectives.

Amanda Davis, grant manager at Leadhills Family Action Group, said: “If it wasn’t for the funding we received from local wind farms, our small hometown would be an isolated place.

“In Leadhills, we all have to work together and we really do rely on each other. The local projects that we help to create allow our tight-knit community to interact, learn new skills, socialise and find common interests with others and they are vital in allowing Leadhills to thrive.”

The renewable energy fund comes from renewable developments across South Lanarkshire which helps communities within 10km of participating windfarms.

Amanda added: “In Leadhills, we are quite restricted – there are very few buses and the community don’t have many opportunities, unless we provide them. This is why funding is so important as we have been able to provide experiences to the community that otherwise would not have been feasible.

“We ask the community what they would most want to see in their local area, and we then do our best to put it into action.

“We very much appreciate the funding from the REF provided by Banks Renewables. Projects like the podcast series help build social cohesion, along with providing a vital source of informative entertainment and support to keep everyone in Leadhills smiling, which is what it is all about.

“The recent podcast series has been a brilliant success and received some fantastic feedback. We are seeking to follow up with a songwriting and recording course. We have already received significant interest from people across the windfarm area. Thanks to the series of grants that we have received, our focused group has been able to deliver a host of varied events that has helped the development of the local area.”

The Leadhills Family Action Group is the latest in a long list of South Lanarkshire initiatives that Banks Renewables and South Lanarkshire Council has supported through the REF grant funding.

Chair of the council’s Community and Enterprise Resources Committee, Councillor Robert Brown, said: “South Lanarkshire Council’s Renewable Energy Fund is making a difference to our more isolated rural communities. Leadhills Family Action Group is a great example of communities coming together to access funding and deliver a range of projects for local people, to encourage and increase community involvement.”

The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family firm commits to maximising the economic and social benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables said: “Leadhills is an integral part of the South Lanarkshire community and it is so important that they are supported with positive initiatives that combat social isolation.

“We are looking forward to seeing the next set of projects that Leadhills Family Action Group helps to deliver following this initiative’s great success and results. The podcast is a clear, creative example of this.”

To listen to the podcast, visit here

For more information regarding how to apply for a REF grant, visit here