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Tom Glover RWE UK Country Chair: “We have a commitment to the local communities that we operate in; and are proud to see their community funds support so many innovative, inclusive and essential projects up and down the country. We will continue to work with, and to support local communities in the future. It’s great to see how communities are using these funds, made possible by renewable energy, to help to generate their own strong, sustainable future.“
RWE, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, has reached a major milestone of investing £25 million over 20 years into communities that live near its UK projects. The investments, from Community Benefit Funds set up by RWE alongside its operational onshore and offshore wind farms, will invest an additional £70 million in support of local initiatives, throughout their lifetime.
Over the last two decades, RWE’s Community Benefit Funds have had significant and positive impacts on the lives of local people, enabling local improvements from new play areas and village hall roofs, to essential services that support those most in need. Across the UK, the funds have already supported First Responders saving lives in Lincolnshire; the RNLI in North Wales and Norfolk for training and equipment to save lives at sea; help for homeless people finding a safe place to stay; training for the jobless to gain new skills and access well-paid jobs; and supported the most vulnerable in communities, by funding initiatives that provide companionship and aid mental health.
The Community Benefit funds are made available in local areas which surround RWE’s renewable energy projects and are provided to, and managed directly by, local independent organisations. The funding processes are designed to be flexible and easily accessible, with funding decisions made by panels of local representatives who know their communities best.
There are additional long standing community and societal benefits that have been provided as a result of RWE’s green developments which also include a significant boost to local and regional supply chains as well as supporting the development of high skilled, well-paid jobs, especially in priority coastal communities.
Examples of innovative and exciting, grassroots projects funded by RWE’s community funds are spread across the UK:
1 –WALES: Environmentally friendly transport links supported by Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm
Over £80,000 has been provided to Dolen Teifi, a community transport organisation close to the Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm. The project was created by volunteers from local enterprise groups to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly transport for local people. The funds have supported the purchase of a five-seater, fully disability-accessible electric vehicle, as well as training for community members, and provision of three new local electric vehicle charging points. As a result of this project, the group has successfully drawn National Lottery Funding which will help increase their fleet of accessible electric vehicles for local communities.
2 – ENGLAND: Health and wellbeing services supported by Rampion Offshore Wind Farm
A grant of £10,000 has helped to support Pedal People – volunteer cyclists who ride out together with elder care residents, helping them to enjoy valuable time in the outdoors. The initiative gives the opportunity for people, 75% of whom are living with dementia, to experience their city, community and local nature close up. The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm Fund contributes towards staffing costs, training and the care of passengers.
3 – SCOTLAND: Education and training fund supported by Bad á Cheò Onshore Wind Farm
Bad á Cheò Onshore Wind Farm Education and Training Fund is open to residents living closest to the wind farm and aims to build skills and increase job opportunities. To date, it has invested nearly £50,000 in the local area. The fund provides bursaries to help local people access training and education opportunities that better equip them with the skills required to enter into, or retain, employment. Thirty-five local people have received funding towards courses as diverse as childcare, sign language, deer stalking, welding inspection, accountancy and kilt making, or to assist them with costs whilst completing university education.
Katy Woodington, Community Investment Manager UK & Ireland, said: “This is an important milestone, which represents the significant difference that renewable energy can make to people’s day to day lives as well as the planet. Funds are set up with decisions made by local people, so it is great to see them making the most of these flexible funds to support innovative projects, push boundaries and help realise their ambitions.”
RWE is the third largest renewable generator in the UK with the largest renewables project pipeline including the construction of the 1.4 GW Sofia and 857 MW Triton Knoll offshore wind farms. RWE is also progressing four extension projects in the UK, with a combined potential installed capacity of around 2.6 GW (RWE’s pro rata share: 1.3 GW.) Furthermore, the company successfully bid for two new adjacent offshore sites on Dogger Bank, developing some of the world’s most advanced offshore wind farms, in support of government net zero ambitions.
To find out more about RWE’s Community Funds, and the local projects and causes that they help to support, visit our Community finding in action page.