21st Dec 2017

RENEWABLE ENERGY firm Ventient Energy and the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland are looking to support community projects in Northumberland with a grants programme totalling £183,500 over the next year.

Following the installation of two neighbouring windfarms near Widdrington village in Northumberland, the Sisters and North Steads Community Benefit Fund – managed by the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear on behalf of Ventient Energy – will make a payment of £133,500 in annual benefit with an extra £50,000 being made available in the first year for local projects and good causes.

The nine-turbine North Steads Wind Farm located on the site of a restored former open cast coal mine at Maiden’s Hall and Steadsburn, and the four-turbine Sisters Wind Farm became operational in November 2017. The projects will continue to provide annual funding to the local area of £133,500 (index linked) for an expected 25 year lifetime.

Scott Mackenzie, CEO of Ventient Energy, said: “Renewable energy is a force for good both locally and globally.  It is Ventient Energy’s aim to always be a good long-term neighbour in communities around our wind farms and we work with landowners and communities through community funding to help them deliver local projects to meet their specific needs.  We are delighted that the community fund is now open for business and confident that it will make an impact on many worthwhile projects in the local area throughout the next 25 years.”

Pete Barrett, Senior Programme Advisor at the Community Foundation, said: “We're delighted to work with Ventient Energy to ensure that the Sisters and North Steads Community Benefit Fund can go further to help projects on their doorstep, strengthen communities, improve lives and support local people in and around the Widdrington area.

“The interest and commitment shown by local people who will give their time by contributing to the advisory panel for this fund has been absolutely fantastic and we are looking forward to working with them to provide support to many vital local projects and community groups over the lifetime of the fund.

“We are the UK’s biggest Community Foundation, and that’s in no small part to programmes like the Ventient Energy Sisters and North Steads Community Benefit Fund. Collectively, our donors have helped us to build more than £80million in total from local giving and philanthropy. We hope that more people and firms make corporate social responsibility an important focus and follow in their footsteps.”

Starting with where you are and the causes that inspire you, the Community Foundation works with companies and individuals to create sustainable community funds to support local projects now and in the future. The Community Foundation offers a range of options allowing people to give when and how they choose. From starting a new fund, to collective giving with others who share your interests; from leaving a legacy in your will to donating right now. For more information about funding at the Community Foundation visit: www.communityfoundation.org.uk

Grants of £500 to £10,000 are available for projects of up to one year’s duration.

Applications are open to constituted voluntary and community groups and charities; start -up social enterprises; Parish Councils and other public bodies for non-statutory purposes and priority will be given to applications from organisations and individuals based within a 5km radius of the Sisters North Steads Wind Farms.

The Fund is particularly interested in supporting projects that meet eight priorities identified through consultation with local people:

  • Advice and support for families
  • Arts, culture and heritage projects
  • Community activities and events
  • Development of local amenities
  • Education and training provision
  • Healthy living activities
  • Environmental projects
  • Sport and physical activity provision.

For more information about the Sisters and North Steads Community Benefit Fund, or to apply for funding, visit: www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply

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