RWE’s largest onshore wind farm in the UK, Clocaenog Forest (96MW) near Denbigh, has made its first awards to local businesses. The fund will open for applications from businesses once a year – a first for the Wales renewable energy leader. The wind farm’s community fund is already the largest to be delivered from any of RWE’s UK onshore wind fleet, and officially opened for applications from neighbouring communities in 2020.
Community and Voluntary Support Conwy (CVSC) is independently managing and administering the fund on behalf of local communities in the area of benefit, mostly within the counties of Conwy and Denbighshire. A panel of local representatives make all funding decisions and help steer the strategic direction of the fund which included expanding the fund to include local businesses.
13 businesses were successful in securing over £177,000 from the first round of the fund open to them. Following a difficult two years which saw many businesses shut down for long periods of time, these awards couldn’t have come at a more critical time when they have the potential to make the biggest impact.
Examples of local business projects funded by RWE’s community fund:
- Ty Eising, a small bakery business received a grant towards the purchase of bespoke catering equipment which will enable them to increase orders and work more efficiently, enabling more elaborate designs that will keep pace with the latest trends.
- I & C Williams were successful in being awarded 50% of their project costs for farm diversification and setting up a new business by installing Glamping Pods. These will offer self-contained units and benefit from private floating deck areas whilst also managing the woodland on the farm.
- Serekinti Ltd, a business, communications and coaching consultancy, received funding towards the renovation and development of a Community Café and Community Area within a historic building in Denbigh. This will both improve their business and lead to the creation of several new jobs.
Other businesses benefitting from the fund include a new welding business, a vineyard, a dairy farm, a brewery, and a coffee company.
Katy Woodington, Community Investment Manager UK & Ireland, said, “ This is the first time a community fund has opened out to businesses and the early success is clear to see. RWE are proud to support a fund that is designed to enrich and enhance the lives of people nearby and aims to establish a long-standing legacy for people living closet to the wind farm. All of the successful business’s had have also committed match funding to their project which will help to maximise the impact of our investment.”
Ffion Angharad Roberts, Owner of Ty Eising bakery commented on the funding, “The Clocaenog Wind Farm business grant is helping my business to grow by allowing me to buy a larger oven which will allow me to cook more cakes at the same time so that I can take more orders. I have also been able to purchase an airbrush machine so that I can use different techniques, offer different style of cakes to attract more customers.”
CVSC Fund Manager, Esyllt Adair commented:” It’s really exciting to see so many local businesses benefiting from the fund. We are looking forward to seeing the positive longer-term impacts for the local economy in terms on new jobs, new businesses being set up, business being expanded and opportunities increasing for young people to stay and build a future in the area. The fund will be open to business’s once a year, but we are happy to talk to prospective applicants at any time about their ideas. We would urge business’s , groups and organisations who are interesting in applying to the fund 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 people to maximise the impact of this really significant investment.”
The fund is open for applications. For more details and to get in touch with the fund manager, Esyllt Adair, please visit: www.clocaenog.cymru or contact Tel: 01492 523855 or email: email@example.com.