Applications sought for community cash windfall

The community fund comes from the Tullos Windfarm.

The community fund comes from the Tullos Windfarm.

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Local groups in the Mearns could benefit from an £18,300 cash boost in the latest instalment of funding on behalf of the Tullo windfarm.

The Mearns Area Partnership (MAP), which administers the community benefit fund on behalf of Tullo Wind Farm, is calling for applications for the next funding round that will see local groups benefit from a share.

The fund, which has been in place since 2011, has distributed 30 awards to local groups and initiatives including Auchenblae Parks Committee, Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network and Marykirk Village Hall.

The total amount distributed exceeds £53,000.

Launch of the 2014 funding comes on the back of a recent survey undertaken by MAP and the Tullo Wind Farm owners, Eneco. This was sent out to nearly 5000 households in the area of benefit and highlighted respondents overwhelmingly supported the work of MAP in distributing the fund.

Suggested improvements from respondents representing the fund boundary area included raising awareness of the funding stream which MAP and Eneco will look to address over the coming year.

Commenting on the initiative, Susie Brown from MAP said: “The fund made a significant difference locally and results of the research identified strong community backing for the activity.

‘‘It was also helpful in identifying areas to be improved. Eneco’s vision is that the funding should go to local, deserving groups and we will work to ensure as many people are aware of the fund’s existence as possible.”

The research on the Tullo Wind Farm community fund, which was undertaken in the summer , also identified preference for where the money should be spent.

Respondents felt that children and vulnerable people should be given preference, closely followed by community buildings and regeneration.

When asked to consider which groups of the local population should be supported above others, young people (16 – 25) scored highest closely followed by residents aged 65+. Tullo Wind Farm is owned by the Dutch energy company, Eneco.

Eneco’s Head of Public Relations, Zoisa Walton, added: “The Tullo Wind Farm community fund is a great example of corporate and community working together to build a more sustainable future for local residents. We are very proud to be a part of this success.”

Applicants have until the end of January to submit the online form which can be accessed on the Mearns Area Partnership website.

Applications will be assessed for suitability by a panel made up of representatives from The Mearns Area Partnership, Kincardine and Mearns Area Partnership and representatives from Arbuthnott, Mearns and Benholm and Johnshaven Community Councils.

The fund is aimed at backing community and voluntary organisations that support children, young people and the vulnerable under the areas of sustainability, health, education, heritage, regeneration, and environmental. Examples of projects, which received funding last year, include Scouts and Guides groups, local primary schools, village halls and sports groups.

The boundary areas are Arburthnott, Benholm & Johnshaven, Grourdon, Inverbervie, Mearns and St Cyrus.

To download the application visit www.mearnsareapartnership.org.uk.