Groups boosted by wind farm cash

Groups across Clydesdale have benefited from a share of £2.4million in the last year.
Windfarm funding has been used to help local groups across Clydesdale.Windfarm funding has been used to help local groups across Clydesdale.
Windfarm funding has been used to help local groups across Clydesdale.

The money, from the Renewable Energy Fund (R EF) administered by South Lanarkshire Council, was shared with a total of 162 South Lanarkshire projects during the last financial year.

Contributions are supported by 41 wind farm developments across the area, the Clyde Wind Farm Fund and community benefit contributions from six quarries. Together, awards totalled £2,380,454.

In 2020/21 106 projects were supported by REF’s main funding stream the with grants of £1,369,804 – giving an average award of £12,950.

A further 25 projects secured micro grant scheme awards offering community councils and organisations small grants of up to £500. In 2020/2021, 25 were awarded totalling £103,315.

The micro grants scheme was initially running for a two-year period but due to its success has now been made permanent.

The Clyde Wind Farm Fund (CWFF) saw 29 projects receive a total of £889,605 under its main awards scheme and a further £18,230 in micro grants – £907,835 in total.

Councillor John Anderson, chairman of community and enterprise resources, said: “Community benefits funding allows operating companies to contribute financially to the communities closest to their wind farms.

"In recent years it has become a highly successful source of support for a wide range of projects.

“In general the terms of community benefits funding define strict geographical limits. During the last year some relaxation of those rules was agreed which allowed funding to be made available to help with the impact of the pandemic.”

The Covid-19 grants programme has, to date, granted £491,746 in 90 grants and it is open to new applications.

REF supported projects in 2020/21 included Blackwood Estate Community Association’s woodland purchase and Carnwath Community Council’s community facility.

Clyde Wind Farm Fund supported projects included sheep pens for Biggar Farmers Club, a defibrillator for Wiston Village Hall Association, community allotment refurbishment by Leadhills Family Action Group and a feasibility study for Symington Football Club.