Community groups facing ‘serious concerns about future viability’ are awarded energy-efficiency grants
Local community centers struggling with soaring energy bills have received a lifeline thanks to more than £200,000 in grants announced today by Telford & Wrekin Council.
The grants of up to £10,000 awarded to 26 local charities, schools, organizations and businesses total £207,000 and come from the Council’s Climate Change Fund, set up to help the community carry out projects to help reduce the district’s carbon footprint.
Organizations set to benefit from this money include a number of community centers across the county who intend to use their grant to install energy-efficient heating systems or switch to energy-efficient lighting to reduce their energy bills.
The Park Lane Center in Woodside is a grantee struggling with rising energy costs, raising concerns about the future of the charity.
Park Lane Center’s Jacqui Idiens said:
“I am absolutely thrilled that we are getting this money from the Council’s Climate Change Fund. We will be replacing all of our lighting with energy efficient LEDs which we estimate will reduce our emissions by 1.76 tonnes of CO2e and save us over £1,000 a year in fuel bills.
“As a charity, we struggle with energy costs and while we have managed to deal with them so far, we have serious concerns about future profitability. Our center is used daily and weekly by hundreds of people who take part in the groups that take place here, from Knit & Knatter to the Making Changes Youth Club.
“We have also just signed up as a warm and welcoming place for local people as part of the council’s cost of living support initiative.
“Our community depends on our venue, so this funding is a game changer – it means we don’t have to close our doors and all of this extremely valuable activity can continue.”
Another group that received a climate action grant to upgrade to low-energy lighting was the 1st Priorslee and St Georges Scout Group, which welcomes more than 100 young people through its doors each week. Its space also functions as a community center for the area, rented out for dozens of community activities each week and serving hundreds of other local residents.
Jonathan Barclay, leader of the Scout group, said:
“Like everyone else, we have been hit by rising bills and were looking for a way not to have to raise our prices during the cost of living crisis – it would be heartbreaking if the children and others in our community are unable to pursue their favorite pastimes due to the domino effect of energy prices. That is why we are very pleased about this funding for energy-efficient renovation. It will help us keep our prices affordable while helping the environment.”
Telford & Wrekin Council received 34 applications for its 2022 grant round for the Climate Change Fund, which offered up to £10,000 to organizations wishing to undertake projects that will contribute to the council’s target of reducing the district’s carbon footprint to net to reduce zero.
The 26 successful applications covered a variety of carbon reduction measures, including support for sustainable travel, energy efficiency in buildings and waste reduction.
Many of the organizations want to use their funds to switch to energy-saving LED lighting, others are planning to install communal electric charging stations, solar panels, sustainable heating systems or recycling bins. Grants have also been awarded to organizations that aim to encourage local food cultivation and to organizations that raise awareness through carbon literacy.
Cllr Carolyn Healy (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council Cabinet Member on Climate Change, Green Spaces, Natural and Historical Environment and Cultural Services said:
“With the right funding, our total of £207,000 in climate grants awarded to these organizations will support over £770,000 in low-carbon projects across the county. This is a significant amount of work and we are very excited about the emission reductions that will follow as a direct result.
“Even better, much of this money is returned to the local economy through the use of local energy efficiency suppliers.
“In addition to the enormously rewarding CO2 savings, I am delighted that these grants are also bringing tangible cost savings to many local organizations on their energy bills. These hubs are the lifeblood of our community, so I’m glad we were able to support them and their users.”
Innovatively, the council decided on a new way to effectively fund its climate fund in 2022 crowd sourced the allotment of £200,000. The council raised the money by offering local and national investors 2.1% annual interest for a period of 5 years.
Ironbridge’s Robert Turner, who was one of the first to take advantage of the investment opportunity, said:
“I’m in the fortunate position of having a little money to invest at the moment. When I saw Telford & Wrekin Council offering a new investment opportunity that would put my money to good use locally, I was keen to get involved.
“To know that my investment is helping places like the Park Lane Centre, which is just a mile down the road from me, to keep going while also reducing its carbon footprint is just wonderful. It really is a win, a win.”
List of Successful 2022 Telford and Wrekin Climate Change Fund Recipients:
1. Donnington Partnership CIO in Donnington for electric vehicle charging stations
2.1. Priorslee and St Georges Scout group in St Georges for energy saving lighting
3. Wrockwardine Wood Junior School at Wrockwardine Wood & Trench to reduce waste
4.Dawley Town Hall CIC at Dawley & Aqueduct for energy efficient lighting
5. Wellington Methodist Church in College for energy saving lighting
6.Ketley Parish Council in Ketley & Overdale for energy efficient lighting
7.Dawley Social Club at Malinslee & Dawley Bank for energy saving lighting
8.Edgmond Bowling Club in Edgmond & Ercall Magna for energy efficient lighting
9.Hollinswood and Randlay Parish Council in The Nedge for solar panels
10. Southall School at Dawley & Aqueduct for several papers
11.Muxton Primary School in Muxton for solar panels
12.Sutton Hill Community Trust in Madeley & Sutton Hill for energy efficiency surveys
13.Sutton Hill Church in Madeley & Sutton Hill for several works
14.Telford Park Secondary School at The Nedge for solar panels
15.Telford Langley Secondary School at Malinslee & Dawley Bank for solar panels
16.Telford Priory School at Wrockwardine Wood & Trench for solar panels
17.Climate Action Hub Telford in college for several papers
18.Park Lane Center in Woodside for energy efficient lighting
19. Exotic Zoo at 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 electric vehicle charging stations
22. Fabweld Steel Products Ltd of Madeley & Sutton Hill for electric vehicle charging stations
23.Save our Shropshire CIO in Borough Wide for multiple work
24.Shropshire Good Food Partnership in Wellington, Leegomery, Madeley, Donnington, Admaston and Coalbrookdale to reduce waste
25. St Georges Sports and Social Club in St Georges for energy efficient lighting
26.Wrekin Masonic Association Limited in college for several works
Photo shows Cllr Carolyn Healy with Jonathan Barclay, Scout Group Leader at 1st Priorslee and St Georges Scout Group.