Funding available to help local groups get greener

The latest round of a community benefit fund has opened for applications, to help local groups reduce their carbon emissions, become more energy efficient or improve local biodiversity.

Funding available to help local groups get greener

Local charity, voluntary and community groups in Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire can now apply to Shropshire and Telford Community Energy (STCE) Community Benefit Fund for grants of up to £6,000 to support community carbon saving projects around the county.

Supported by the sale of electricity from the Twemlows solar farm near Whitchurch, the community benefit fund will run for the lifetime of the solar farm and deliver community benefits in the region of £4.5 million pounds over the next 18 years.

Projects that have benefited from the STCE fund to date include solar PV panels for community centres and village halls, and other energy efficiency improvements. In a previous round of funding the Park Lane Centre in Woodside used the support to install LED lighting to improve energy efficiency and rainwater harvesting to conserve water.

Mark Latham, one of STCE’s five directors, said: “Last year, working with four other groups across England and Wales, we took part in the UK’s largest transfer of renewable energy assets into community ownership. With the help of 126 investors, we raised £294,000 - enough to purchase the solar farm for the benefit of the people of Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire. This is our first grant round since the purchase, so it’s an important milestone in our journey to help deliver a cleaner, greener and fairer future.”

Councillor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Green Spaces, Heritage and Leisure, said: “The STCE Community Benefit Fund is an excellent opportunity for local charity, voluntary or community groups to apply for funding to support climate change and carbon saving projects, whether that’s LED lighting or rainwater harvesting like at the Park Lane Centre in Woodside, or support towards heat pumps like at Little Wenlock Village Hall, or anything else.

“The community benefit provided by STCE and the solar farm near Whitchurch cannot be underestimated. Not only does it produce green energy to power up to 3,400 homes, but the fund has helped benefit organisations across Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire, providing over £60,000 in funding over the past 3 years.

“Telford & Wrekin Council’s publicly owned solar farm near Wheat Leasows benefits the local area too, with profits from the sale of electricity generated by more than 15,000 solar panels at the 11.7-hectare site invested by the council directly back into supporting front line services. 

“Since it began generating electricity at the end of 2014, it has provided over £1.83m to help to support some of the borough’s most vulnerable young people and older residents, as well as avoiding over 9,000 tonnes of carbon which would be created by traditional fossil-fuelled power stations.”

The deadline to apply to the STCE Community Benefit Fund is 30 April 2024. For more information, and to apply, visit: https://stcenergy.org.uk/files/2024/03/CBF-Twemlows-2grant-application-form-and-guidance-notes-2024-final.pdf 

 ENDS

Notes to Editors

Shropshire and Telford Community Energy (STCE) is an established Community Benefit Society dedicated to facilitating the establishment of community-owned clean energy schemes and distributing the arising financial benefits across the whole community.




 

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