Energy efficiency was the key theme in this year’s Megawatt Community Energy Fund. We set up the fund in 2017 to help groups in and around Bristol to drive green initiatives suitable for their local community.
This year, over £42,000 worth of grants have been offered to community groups. Energy efficiency was a key theme, featuring in around half of the applications. This reflects the community response to tackling rising energy costs and climate change.
The money pot for the Megawatt Community Energy Fund comes from clean, green sources. When we sell our renewable energy, we generate income. Every year we dedicate a portion of this income to the Megawatt Community Energy fund. What’s more, local community energy group Low Carbon Gordano also contribute funds. This helps build an even bigger pot that supports more groups locally.
Together with Low Carbon Gordano and other UK community energy groups, we share the philosophy that clean energy can and should benefit the wider community. Our community fund helps to achieve this goal.
Since 2017, the Megawatt Community Energy Fund has supported over 42 different organisations with grants of up to £4000 for climate action initiatives. The range and creativity of these projects has been remarkable, from “energy awareness feasts” at Buzz Lockleaze to climate-focussed radio shows with the Black and Green Ambassadors. It demonstrates how community-led action has the power to engage and involve everyone in a way that is fun and meaningful.
In this year’s round of the Megawatt Community Energy Fund, 13 groups have been offered funding. Around half of those groups will be delivering energy efficiency activities.
One of those doing upgrades is the new Hartcliffe City Farm. This new community farm in BS13 will be re-opening on an abandoned site where the building is in a significant state of disrepair. Low flow taps, low energy lighting and hand dryers will be an immediate green boost for this site and help keep costs low from the get-go.
Similarly at Southmead Development Trust, Portishead Primary and Tickenham Village Hall, the money will help the efficiency of the building. Every penny saved on running these community-focussed buildings means more money to invest in the brilliant local services they provide.
In Filwood, one organisation is approaching energy efficiency from a different angle. Re:work will use the grant funding for DIY training and energy efficiency advice for people living in fuel poverty. With the help of these skills workshops and a tool library, local residents can overcome some of the typical barriers people have when doing this type of retrofit work. Meanwhile, nearby Knowle West Media Centre aims to receive an energy efficiency audit to help provide impartial advice for making improvements to the building.
Two Somerset community halls in Badgworth and Berrow have been offered funding towards solar panels. Both halls are important hubs to the nearby rural communities as there is a lack of amenities nearby. Supporting centres such as this with solar will help them to continue their work providing facilities for all different members of the community. Badgworth also hopes to install a battery, due to their high evening usage of the building. They will receive further grant support from Wedmore Community Power Coop to help cover the costs.
Bikes, boats, and community climate action – this year’s applicants show the breadth of sustainable activity in the South West.
All-Aboard Watersports aim to use the funding to replace a petrol engine boat with an electric one. This will mean less water pollution in Bristol’s harbour, less noise pollution, and great carbon savings.
On land, we’re supporting with the well-established Lifecycle UK “Bike Back” scheme which has huge impacts locally. In the past 12 months, Lifecycle UK helped 10,424 people – including ex-offenders, refugees, low-income families, and Key Workers – to access affordable transport, healthy exercise and social contact.
Applications for the next round of the fund will open again in April 2023. The fund is administered by Quartet Community Foundation, who are responsible for other community funds in the region.
If you’re a local group looking for funding for green initiatives, it’s worth getting on the Quartet mailing list so you can receive updates when grants go live.