Darlington community groups eligible for expanded grants from wind farm fund

Charities, community groups and good causes in the area around a Darlington wind farm can now get bigger grants for more purposes from a community fund.

Banks Renewables, part of The Banks Group, will provide over £750k of community funding over the 25-year lifespan of its Moor House wind farm to the north east of Barmpton, around three miles to the east of the A1.

Since the wind farm began generating green electricity at the start of 2018, the County Durham-headquartered firm has directed around £210k from its revenues into the fund, with 42 separate grants totalling over £101k so far being awarded to local community projects so far.

But now, Banks Renewables has revised the fund’s eligibility criteria for the next year in order to award larger grants to more local organisations for a wider range of projects.

The maximum size of any single grant has been more than doubled, from £3k to £7k, while for the first time, applications can also be considered to support revenue funding to help support running costs.

The Moor House wind farm fund is independently administered on behalf of Banks Renewables by the County Durham Community Foundation, with a funding committee made up of local community representatives who meet to assess grant applications to help ensure that grants are awarded in ways which meet local priorities.

Eligibility for grants is normally restricted to projects and activities within the closest communities at Sadberge, Bishopton, East & West Newbiggin, Bishopton, Little Stainton, Great Stainton, Great Burdon, Barmpton, Brafferton, and areas of Whinfield, Harrogate Hill, Beaumont Hill and Coatham Mundeville.

But it has now been agreed by the committee that projects in the additional areas of Heighington & Coniscliffe, Hurworth, Neasham and Middleton St George can also now access the fund.

Community groups and voluntary organisations operating within and benefiting people who live in these areas will be considered for grant assistance, with particular emphasis being placed on the children, senior citizens and disabled within the community.

Projects in neighbouring areas may also be eligible if they can be shown to benefit people living within the closest communities.

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