Oxford energy co-op sets up community grants scheme

Westmill Solar Co-op says it is part of its ethos to put earnings back into the community

Oxfordshire-based Westmill Solar Co-op has launched a community grants scheme to support organisations in its area.

The co-op – which launched its community owned solar farm eight years ago – says the move is part of its efforts to “achieve real social and environmental impact”.

It adds: “The solar park is a significant local project, and we have always believed that the community should share in the benefits.”

Under the grant scheme, non-profit community organisations in Oxfordshire or within 25 miles of the Westmill site can apply for grants between £500 and £5,000. 

The co-op will accept applications directly from any eligible organisation, and it wants its members to help by referring their favourite projects or organisations to the scheme.

Announcing the scheme, Westmill says: “To benefit local communities, we are looking for projects and activities that align with one or more of our co-operative principles: community; sustainability; education, training and sharing information; o-operation (with co-operatives and similar social enterprises.”

Examples could include helping community groups reduce their carbon footprints, provide assistance to those suffering from fuel poverty, or pay towards retrofitting community buildings to meet recommended efficiency standards.

The deadline for entries 12 noon on Monday 28 September 2020; more details here.

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