A Heysham primary school is reducing its environmental impact and its energy bills with the help of a four-figure grant from the community fund linked to the nearby Heysham South Wind Farm.
Mossgate Primary School has used a £15,000 grant from operator Banks Renewables to replace an old strip lighting system with energy efficient LED lighting throughout the school building.
The first part of the installation was carried out over the Easter school holidays by local contractor Clarksons Electrical Solutions, with work in the remaining rooms completed over the recent May half-term break.
And as well as helping to reduce its carbon emissions, the school estimates that the LED lights will also help to cut its energy bills by almost £5,000 a year.
Mossgate Primary School, which has around 200 children from Reception up to Year Six, has a particular focus on environmental matters both within and outside the classroom as part of its goal of helping pupils have a positive impact within their school, community and wider world.
It runs a regular gardening club in its grounds with the help of local environmental group The Lancaster & District Conservation Volunteers and is working to reduce, minimise or cut out altogether carbon emissions generated by school activities wherever possible.
Katie Turnbull, bursar at Mossgate Primary School, says: “Environmental issues are extremely important to everyone in the school and we’re working to give the children the knowledge they will need to help protect their community and world in the future.
“The school building opened in the mid-1990s and the lighting system that we’ve replaced was the original one fitted at that time, so it was well overdue for bringing up to date.
“Energy costs take up a large proportion of the school budget, and this proportion has grown significantly larger over the last 18 months.
“Having the LED lights fitted not only immediately reduces the school’s carbon emissions, but they will also cut our energy bills by around £400 a month, which will make a huge long-term impact on the budget we have available to meet other priorities.
“We simply couldn’t have afforded to have this important work done without Banks’ generous support and we’re very grateful for their contribution to a project that will have a positive impact on our school for many years to come.”
Rob Smith, headteacher at Mossgate Primary School, says: “We have been proactive in reducing our environmental impact, and with the help of children and staff, have reduced plastic waste by moving to a local dairy for our milk, reduced water usage with water butts and sensor taps and improved our school grounds with a new wildlife pond, meadow and hedgerows.
“We have also recently increased the opportunities for children to grow, harvest and eat their own fruit and vegetables as well.
“The grant has enabled us to significantly reduce our electricity usage and allow us to use these much-needed funds to focus on teaching and learning.”
The Heysham South Farm Community Fund will provide at least £300,000 of community funding over the wind farm’s 25-year lifespan, and aims to make a positive, long-term difference to local voluntary groups, environmental projects and community facilities.
The three-turbine wind farm has generated more than £134,000 for the fund since it came online in 2015, with grants totalling £62,000 being awarded to 18 local good causes so far – and with a further £72,000 currently available to applicants, Banks Renewables is currently looking to increase the number of local ideas being put forward for how the money might best be used.
During Banks Renewables’ last financial year, the Heysham South Wind Farm generated just over 20,000 MWh of clean, green electricity, which is enough to meet the average annual requirements of around 6,500 homes.
Jamilah Hassan, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “Mossgate Primary School’s teachers and pupils are leading the way in doing everything they can to protect the environment, and it seems very apt that funds generated by the local production of clean, green electricity are enabling to get this important work done.
“We’d love to hear from more local groups and good causes about how revenues generated by our Heysham South Wind Farm could help them put their community improvement plans into action.”
Anyone from a community group close to a Banks Group project who is interested in applying for funding from the Banks Community Fund should first contact the fund manager via email@example.com or on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible