Funding project now has fair wind behind it thanks to £380k charitable gesture
Monday, 28 May 2018
A community funding initiative which uses wind power to propel communities forward is now debt free, thanks to a generous move by its funding partners.
The Glenmuckloch Community Energy Park project, administered by young people at Sanquhar Academy, distributes revenue generated by two wind turbines at Glenmuckloch to groups across Upper Nithsdale.
The funding scheme got off the ground in 2014 thanks to loans from Buccleuch, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Mines Restoration Trust, Mines Restoration Limited, and Hargreaves Surface Mining.
Loans totalling £380,000 have now all been written off, meaning that going forward, all of the money generated by the turbines will be distributed to community organisations.
Since the scheme began in 2014, the young people – who have adopted the name Propel for the charitable purposes committee – have awarded £79,465 to 25 groups in the area, and are already seeing positive developments.
At an event at Sanquhar Academy on 7 March, Duke Richard Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch and 12th Duke of Queensberry, formally announced the move.
Duke Richard said: “This is a fantastic project which has already provided almost £80,000 to groups in this area. The young people who are involved show great dynamism and energy and they’re doing a fantastic job in helping local groups grow and develop.
“Writing off these loans means that the project can now power ahead and become a fully self-sustaining funding stream.
“As one of the funding partners, Buccleuch is very proud to be involved in a scheme that’s having a very positive impact on communities in Dumfries and Galloway.”
Buccleuch Chief Executive John Glen said: “The community has invested in two wind turbines and the dividend being generated – around £80,000 every year – is being distributed, by the school, to groups in the community.
“The project has provided a unique learning experience for the young people involved, equipping them with skills for the workplace, from processing information and decision making to learning about investing wisely. Decisions around how and where to distribute the money are completely in their hands.
“Furthermore, the project helps students get involved in the economics around the renewable energy technology sector, which we hope will provide skilled employment opportunities in the coming years."
The wind turbines have the potential to generate £2.5million over the next 25 years.
To date, funding has been awarded to groups working across areas including history and heritage, music, sport, art, managing disabilities, and the environment.
Glenmuckloch Community Energy Park chair Alan Hiddleston said: “The funding scheme is now a big part of the community here in Upper Nithsdale, and there are still many groups in need of support.
“The loan write-off means that the young people will have even more funding in the pot for some fantastic causes.
“We’re all overwhelmed by the gesture – it will help Propel to really take things forward.
To find out more about the scheme, email GlenmucklochCPC@outlook.com