Glasgow solar co-op launches community fund to honour city activist

The Cathy McCormack Community Activism Fund will draw on a £10,000 pot generated from rooftop solar

Glasgow Community Energy has launched a community fund for the city, using funds raised from the sale of renewable electricity.

The Cathy McCormack Community Activism Fund, honouring a local anti-poverty campaigner, draws on a £10,000 pot generated over the last three years by the co-op, which has solar panels installed on the roofs of two schools in Greater Easterhouse and Pollokshields, supplying green electricity to local authority.

It has set up the grant scheme aims to preserve the legacy of Easterhouse campaigner McCormack, who died in 2022. A supporter of Glasgow Community Energy in its early stages, in she was known for her efforts against damp housing conditions in council-owned schemes and for making the connections between local social injustices and the global climate crisis.

In the early 1990s she helped to secure funding for a pioneering solar heating project on the Easthall housing scheme, the first of its kind in the world.

In the first five years of the fund, grants will be awarded to community organisations close to the two schools, including: The Pollokshields TrustSt. Paul’s Youth ForumConnect Community TrustEast End Flat Pack Meals and Fuse Youth Café. These organisations will be encouraged to use funds for projects or activities inspired by McCormack’s radical spirit, aimed at addressing the root causes of poverty.

From 2027 onwards, the fund will open up across Glasgow to give others the opportunity to apply.

Glasgow Community Energy says it also has plans to expand, developing new renewable energy sites across the city over the next few years. In doing so, it hopes to create a much bigger funding pot “which has the possibility of delivering more radical change across the city”.

McCormack’s son Gary welcomed the launch of the new fund, saying: “We’re absolutely chuffed and honoured – as mum would be too. In the final years of her life, she got so much joy from seeing the next generation of community activists take up her fight for social, economic and environmental justice in Glasgow and across the world. We hope this new fund will inspire and support more local people to get involved.”

Neil Young at St. Paul’s Youth Forum said: “We are honoured to be one of the recipients of the first Cathy McCormack Community Activism Fund’grants. Cathy was an inspiration to many in SPYF as a local person who stood up against political forces to ensure that there was justice for all. We strongly believe in the power of local people coming together to make a difference.

“This grant will enable people suffering from depression and other mental health issues to tackle both food poverty and the climate emergency through growing together in our new community farm. We’ll tackle the challenges of our time by building strength and resilience.

“We will use the grant towards a social area in the farm, somewhere people can sit and socialise but also a decorative area for quiet reflection and some pollinator friendly plants tying in with Cathy’s yellow butterfly. We’re delighted to be able to support so many of Cathy’s passions with this funding.”

Fatima Uygun, a volunteer at the Pollokshields Trust, said: “We are honoured to be a recipient of the fund. The grant will be used in Cathy’s spirit to improve greens paces for our community to ensure they are accessible and inclusive for all.

“Glasgow Community Energy is an incredible project that has brought huge benefits to communities across Glasgow and we are delighted to be involved.”