Fossil free cash for community groups

Grant recipients celebrate their awards with panel members
Grant recipients celebrate their awards with panel members

Community groups across Aberdeenshire are to benefit through the first round of awards from a new funding programme.

The £150,000-a-year Unlock our Future Fund, provided by Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen Bay - was designed following community feedback to focus on projects and activities that support groups working towards a fossil fuel free life.

Community-owned electric vehicles, low carbon heating for community centres, support for community innovators upcycling gardening equipment, as well as a new indoor teaching beehive and local seed swap project are among the first winners selected by a panel of community champions.

Included in the awards is Strachan Village Hall, which is given £10,000 to help meet the cost of installing three wall-mounted air source heaters.

Aboyne and District Men’s Shed receives £8,967 to contribute to the building of Aboyne and Mid Deeside Community Shed development through the provision of solar panels.

Other recipients announced are Westhill and District Men’s Shed with £1,000 to purchase an electric arc welder, hydraulic mobile lift table and steel storage cupboard, to help their work in recycling lawnmowers.

Tarland Development Group is awarded £15,000 to contribute to the development of an environmental education facility near Tarland which will benefit several local groups,including an indoor teaching beehive, and a project to conserve, grow and swap local heritage varieties of flower and vegetable seeds.

Community champions panel chair Hamish Vernal said: “It was a very competitive first round of funding, and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply.

“Aberdeen and the surrounding areas have a reputation as a home of innovation for good reason, and that passion for innovation shone through in the successful applications - forward thinking community groups looking and readying for a sustainable, fossil free future.”