As part of the consenting process for the E-On Robin Rigg wind farm in the Solway Firth, a local Community Benefit Fund was established for a ten year period. Arrangements for distribution of the funds are different on the north and south sides of the Firth.
In Scotland, Solway Firth Partnership acts as administrator for the funds which are equally distributed amongst the six coastal Community Councils between Kirkbean and Dundrennan. In Dumfries and Galloway, the funds have been used by the Community Councils for projects including the renovation of village halls, creation and improvement of footpaths and a wide range of other community initiatives.
In 2016 Auchencairn Community Council used their grant to create the Millenium Garden and Link Park. Dundrennan Community Council received funding to rennovate and decorate the village’s gents toilets, purchased a tennis table and run Tai Chi and archery sessions. Kirkbean Community Council designed and built an unlimited page website, ncludng domain name registration and the first year’s hosting.
In England, Cumbria Community Foundation acts as administrator for the funds and grants are awarded for projects that help to reduce the effect of climate change and provide benefit for the local community. Applications can be made by community bodies operating in West Allerdale from Workington to Silloth and inland to Embleton. Groups can apply for funds of up to £15,000 and more information about the criteria for grants and the application process can be obtained from Cumbria Community Foundation.
Maryport Festivals Ltd used their grant to purchase a new biofuels generator for the Maryport Blues Festival. Ullock Village Hall improved its building efficiency by installing solar panels on its south-facing roof. Siddick Ponds, an important Cumbrian bird site, used their grant to improve visitor facilities and to raise awareness of the Ponds’ importance as a conservation site, through a new exhibition about the reserve in the bird hide, and more seating overlooking the ponds. Maryport Educational Settlement Ltd used their grant to run a year-long series of events raising awareness of waste and recycling through the Eco Thinking Programme. The Programme involves ‘love food, hate waste’ events at schools and children’s groups, a clothes swapping event and a ‘shabby chic’ project where old furniture was restored and sold on. There were also two ‘give and take’ events, to prevent reusable items from going to the landfill.