The provision of significant local community benefits is central to Low Carbon Gordano’s vision. The benefits are administered through a Community Benefit Fund which will derive the bulk of its income from the surpluses generated from the Moorhouse Lane and the Ham Lane Solar Arrays and any future energy generation schemes. The Fund will be used for the purpose of developing more carbon saving projects. The amount allocated each year will be subject to a member’s vote at the AGM.
Transition Portishead has established a Community Benefit Fund Committee (CBFC) to administer the fund and the committee includes representatives from communities in North Somerset as well as communities near to our projects.
Second Round of Community Benefit Awards
Following the decision at the AGM, applications are now open for the second round of grants from the Community Benefit Fund. If you are connected with a community group, school, or church and would like help with reducing your energy usage or making other changes which lead to reducing your carbon footprint then the Community Benefit Fund would like to hear from you. Details of the fund and an application form can be found on the Transition Portishead website HERE.
First Round of Community Benefit Awards
Low Carbon Gordano require the CBFC to present an annual report each year on the work of the committee and the way the funds have been distributed. The report has been summarised below.The full report can be found HERE.
At the 2015 AGM it was agreed that £25 000 would be donated to our Community Benefit Fund. The Board later agreed that the 10% of this money identified for use in the developing world should this year go to an exciting project run by Bristol Zoo in Madagascar. The Zoo’s main purpose is to ensure the well-being of endangered lemur populations in the NE of the country, but works with the local population to enable them to benefit from the work rather than suffer because of it. The Zoo has partnered with SolarSense for some aspects of the work, and our money will be used to provide solar power in the local village.
The remaining money, increased to over £25 000 by donations from Board Members and supporters, has been distributed by the Community Benefit Fund Committee set up by Transition Portishead, now a recognised charity. Advertising the fund resulted in 7 applications being received from local organisations. The Committee investigated the organisations in question to ensure that they were well-established and held in good regard and that their plans were sound. The outcome of all this was extremely positive and meant that the Committee felt able to support each plan with the money requested. A total of just over £23 000 has been set aside for this, leaving a small reserve for any costs incurred before the next round of funding is received.
The schemes being supported are very varied –
- Gordano School is being helped to install LED lighting and increase plastic recycling in the school;
- The Long Ashton Growers will be setting up new polytunnels and planting a wide range of fruit bushes;
- ReMission, a Clevedon organisation that supports recovering addicts, is being helped to completely upgrade their heating system (with potentially major carbon savings);
- Pill and Easton-in-Gordano Parish Council are getting funds to accelerate their programme to convert the village street-lights to LEDs;
- The Scouts in the same village will also now be able to install LEDs in their hut;
- And finally, Ambition Lawrence Weston, representing the community close to our Moorhouse array, are going to train local, currently unemployed, people as energy advisers to help householders and businesses use energy more efficiently, and are working with local companies to ensure that there will be employment opportunities for the trainees after the project.
In total it is expected that well over 50 MWh of power will be saved annually, with parallel savings in excess of 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide.