Wind farm grants help North Devon communities
Already some �200,000 has been paid out to local good causes by the Fullabrook CIC set up to run the �3.5 million Community Fund paid by developers of Fullabrook Down wind farm.
THOUSANDS of pounds generated by Fullabrook wind farm have been finding their way back into communities across North Devon.
Already some �200,000 has been paid out in grants by Fullabrook Community Interest Company, set up to run a Community Fund worth �3.5 million to local projects over the 25 year lifespan of the turbines.
An initial �1 million lump sum paid by the owner of the 22-turbine site will be topped up by �100,000 each year, with local groups and projects across the district invited to apply for small grants of up to �500, or submit detailed applications for bigger sums.
So far numerous small grants have been paid out to community groups, while larger sums include �5,000 for Ilfracombe Community Transport Association towards a new minibus and �50,000 pledged for equipment at the new Falcons Gymnastics Academy.
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The CIC is completely independent and grants are decided by nine locally elected directors who meet twice a month.
The very first to apply was the Parochial Church Council of St Calixtus Church at West Down, on behalf of the Iron Room, a metal clad hall in the centre of the village used since the early 1900s for community events.
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It was awarded a grant of �14,000 which has helped greatly in bringing the building, which is more than 100 years old, back into community use.
In May 2010 major refurbishment got underway to strength the structure and bring it up to modern standards, as well as install a disabled toilet and a kitchen area.
Now it is used for coffee mornings, craft groups, as a youth club, for bible study and soon it is hoped to start a mother and toddler group.
A computer suite will shortly be installed to allow internet access and computer training courses.
“Before the parish hall was built this was the only community facility in West Down,” said project manager Andy Odell.
“The Fullabrook money was instrumental in helping us to finish the project and to install the toilets, kitchen and flooring. Once the work is signed off we will offer the facility for public use and for hire, not only for people in West Down but in the surrounding areas.”
Fullabrook CIC chairman Paul Ginnings said they tried to help projects that would benefit the whole community.
“This is a typically good project, the sort of benefit to the communities that have been affected by the wind farm that we want to progress,” he said.
“We are monitoring to make sure the money is spread over all the villages affected, all age ranges and all the different societies within those communities.”
Fullabrook CIC is keen to hear from any local groups, organisations or projects that wish to apply for a grant. Full details can be found at www.fullabrook-cic.org.