RWE’s Clocaenog Forest onshore wind farm in North Wales has officially launched its £19million community fund and announced the first successful applicants from the surrounding communities. The fund is directly linked to the company’s 100%-owned Clocaenog Forest wind farm, which will provide renewable electricity equivalent to the needs of 63,800 UK homes.
The 96MW project, constructed near Denbigh, will support the community investment fund throughout its 25 years operational lifetime. Community and Voluntary Support Conwy (CVSC) is independently managing and administering the fund on behalf of local communities in the area of benefit, within the counties of Conwy and Denbighshire.
The 37 turbines at Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm will add to RWE’s impressive UK portfolio of around 2,200MW of renewable generation capacity in Offshore Wind, Onshore Wind and Hydro. The UK plays a key role in RWE’s strategy to grow its renewables business and to become carbon neutral by 2040. RWE is also Wales’ largest renewable generator, and this is set to grow with development of Awel y Môr (the Gwynt y Môr extension) and a further pipeline of approximately 150 MW of onshore wind projects, including community shared ownership.
Tanya Davies, Head of Onshore Development UK & Ireland commented: ”RWE ensures that it works closely with local communities throughout the development of renewable projects; to ensure there is a long standing benefit from the delivery of its projects to the local area as well as the environment. This funding is targeted, flexible and locally-focused, and presents a fantastic opportunity for the communities that live nearest Clocaenog. Thanks to the management of the CVSC and with direction from a locally recruited panel this fund is designed to enrich and enhance the lives of people nearby.”
The fund has already started to make a difference locally. In March 2020, in direct response to Covid19, RWE with Community and Voluntary Support Conwy, took a decision to allow urgent applications to the fund in order to support essential frontline services, local organisations and groups providing help within their communities.
The fund opened to broader applications for the first time in October 2020. It aims to establish a long-standing legacy by delivering life-changing benefits for the neighbouring communities within Conwy and Denbighshire.
Funding decisions are made by a panel of local community volunteers who have been recruited to manage and assess applications to the fund, and they are supported by an independent administrator. There are no closing dates and applications are encouraged to be submitted when they are ready, so there is no rushing to meet deadlines. Applicants are provided with guidance and support, while the panel meets four times a year to make funding decisions.
CVSC Fund Manager, Esyllt Adair commented:” The projects that have been supported so far have demonstrated a commitment to developing people’s lives and the environment in the local area. We would urge groups and organisations to get in touch with us to discuss their projects or ideas as early as possible, so we can support them through the application process. This is a fantastic opportunity, and we want to work closely with local groups to maximise the impact of this really significant investment.”
In the last month, the first awards from the main fund have been allocated to local communities and projects, including:
- Llannefydd Community Hall – received funds towards the village hall upgrade, so that it is suitable for today’s needs and for future generations to come. The new resource would create a multifunctional, comfortable building that is energy efficient.
- Llanrwst Juniors – successful application for a ride on lawn mower for the club. The football club has over 120 members from the Conwy Valley and this award will ensure
the volunteers can cut the grass in accordance to FAW standards.
- Y Ty Gwyrdd – received a grant to support the development of a new Community Benefit Society that is opening new facilities at the old Barclays bank premises in Denbigh town.
- Llanferres Community Council – secured funding for improvements to their playing field and orchard area to make it safe to use, and more inclusive for all.
- Denbigh Town Football Club – awarded funding for a project to carry out the installation of a new drainage and irrigation system and a new grass playing surface.