Community groups facing ‘serious concerns about future viability’ are awarded energy-efficiency grants

Local community centres struggling with soaring energy bills have been thrown a lifeline thanks to more than £200k in grants announced today by Telford & Wrekin Council.

Community groups facing ‘serious concerns about future viability’ are awarded energy-efficiency grants

The grants of up to £10k, which have been awarded to 26 local charities, schools, organisations and businesses, total £207k and come from the council’s Climate Change Fund, established to help the community carry out projects to reduce the borough’s carbon footprint.

Organisations set to benefit from this money include a number of community centres across the borough who plan to use their grant to install energy-efficient heating systems or switch to energy-saving lighting, enabling them to reduce energy bills.

Park Lane Centre in Woodside is one grant beneficiary which has been struggling with rising energy costs, leading to concerns about the future of the charity.

Jacqui Idiens from Park Lane Centre said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled we’re getting this money from the council’s Climate Change Fund. We’re going to replace all our lighting with energy-efficient LEDs which we estimate will reduce our emissions by 1.76 tonnes CO2e and save us more than £1k per year in fuel bills.

“As a charity, we have been struggling with the costs of energy, and although we have managed to cope to date, we have serious concerns about viability going forwards. Our centre is used by hundreds of people on a daily and weekly basis attending the groups that take place here, from Knit & Knatter to Making Changes Youth Club.

“We’ve also just signed up to be a Warm and Welcoming Space for local people as part of the council’s cost of living support initiative.

“Our community relies on our venue, so this funding is a game changer – it means we won’t have to close our doors and all these hugely valuable activities can carry on.”

Another group awarded a Climate Change grant to upgrade to energy-saving lighting was the 1st Priorslee and St Georges Scout Group, which welcomes more than 100 young people through its doors each week. Its premises also act as a community hub for the area, being hired out for dozens of community activities every week, serving hundreds more local residents.

Jonathan Barclay, Scout Group Leader, said:

“Like everyone, we’ve been hit by soaring bills and were looking for any way to avoid having to put our prices up during the cost of living crisis – it would be heart-breaking if the children and others in our community couldn’t attend their favourite activities because of the knock-on effect of energy prices. That’s why we’re so pleased to receive this grant to carry out energy efficiency upgrades. It will help us to keep our prices affordable whilst also helping the environment.”

Telford & Wrekin Council received 34 applications for its 2022 round of Climate Change Fund grants, which offered up to £10k to organisations looking to deliver projects that contribute to the council’s goal of reducing the borough’s carbon footprint to net zero by 2030.

The 26 successful applications covered a variety of carbon reducing actions, including supporting sustainable travel, delivering energy efficiencies to premises and reducing waste. 

Many of the organisations intend to use their funds to switch to energy-saving LED lighting, while others plan to install community EV charging points, solar panels, sustainable heating systems or recycling bins. Grants were also awarded to organisations looking to promote ‘grow local’ food as well as those delivering awareness through Carbon Literacy.

Cllr Carolyn Healy (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for climate change, green spaces, natural and historic environment and cultural services, said:

“Thanks to match funding, our total £207k of climate grants awarded to these organisations will enable more than £770,000 of carbon reducing projects to take place across the borough. This is a significant amount of work and we’re very excited to see the emissions reductions that will follow as a direct result.

“Even better, much of this money will be fed back into the local economy through the use of local energy efficiency suppliers.

“Beyond the hugely worthwhile carbon savings, I am so pleased that these grants are also offering many local organisations tangible cost savings on their energy bills too. These centres are the lifeblood of our community so I’m delighted we’ve been able to support them and their users.”

Innovatively, the council opted for a new way to finance its Climate Change Fund in 2022, effectively crowd-sourcing the £200k grant allocation. The council raised the money by offering 2.1% interest annually over 5 years to local and national investors.

Robert Turner from Ironbridge, who was one of the first to take up the investment opportunity, said:

“I’m in the fortunate position of having a little money available to invest at the moment. When I saw that Telford & Wrekin Council was offering a new investment opportunity, where my money would be put to good use locally, I was eager to get involved.

“To know that my investment is helping places like Park Lane Centre, which is just a mile up the road from me, to keep running while also reducing its carbon footprint, is just wonderful. It really is a win, win.”

List of successful recipients of Telford and Wrekin Climate Change Fund 2022:

1.Donnington Partnership CIO in Donnington for EV charging points

2.1st Priorslee and St Georges Scout group in St Georges for energy-saving lighting

3.Wrockwardine Wood Junior School in Wrockwardine Wood & Trench for waste reduction

4.Dawley Town Hall CIC in Dawley & Aqueduct for energy-saving lighting

5.Wellington Methodist Church  in College for energy-saving lighting

6.Ketley Parish Council in Ketley & Overdale for energy-saving lighting

7.Dawley Social Club in Malinslee & Dawley Bank for energy-saving lighting

8.Edgmond Bowling Club in Edgmond & Ercall Magna for energy-saving lighting

9.Hollinswood and Randlay Parish Council in The Nedge for solar panels

10.Southall School in Dawley & Aqueduct for multiple works

11.Muxton Primary School in Muxton for solar panels

12.Sutton Hill Community Trust in Madeley & Sutton Hill for energy efficiency survey

13.Sutton Hill Church in Madeley & Sutton Hill for multiple works

14.Telford Park Secondary School in The Nedge for solar panels

15.Telford Langley Secondary School in Malinslee & Dawley Bank for solar panels

16.Telford Priory School in Wrockwardine Wood & Trench for solar panels

17.Climate Action Hub Telford  in College for multiple works

18.Park Lane Centre in Woodside for energy-saving lighting

19.Exotic Zoo  in Horsehay & Lightmoor for solar panels

20.Coalbrookdale PCC ( Holy Trinity Church ) in Ironbridge Gorge for heating systems

21.Little Wenlock Village Hall in Wrockwardine for EV charging points

22.Fabweld Steel Products Ltd in Madeley & Sutton Hill for EV charging points

23.Save Our Shropshire CIO in Borough Wide for multiple works

24.Shropshire Good Food Partnership across Wellington, Leegomery, Madeley, Donnington, Admaston and Coalbrookdale for waste reduction

25.St Georges Sports and Social Club in St Georges for energy-saving lighting

26.Wrekin Masonic Association Limited in College for multiple works


Photo features Cllr Carolyn Healy with Jonathan Barclay, Scout Group Leader at 1st Priorslee and St Georges Scout Group.






 

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