Onshore wind - policy statement refresh 2021: consultative draft

Seeks views on our ambition to secure an additional 8-12 GW of installed onshore wind capacity by 2030, how to tackle the barriers to deployment, and how to secure maximum economic benefit from these developments.

Annex 3: Community benefit case studies


Soirbheas is a great example of a community that is benefitting from community benefits and shared ownership of nearby windfarms. Through their grant programmes they are enabling other local organisations to take forward low carbon projects, such as the Glenurqhuart Centre.

In addition to supporting community projects they help to fund apprenticeships and have also set up two new funds in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19): an employee training fund and a community support fund. Being in control of the funds available from community benefits and shared ownership has allowed them to act quickly and flexibly to support the needs of their community.

Soirbheas have reached a critical stage in which they have become a community company and have a team of employed staff, meaning that they are well resourced and have the available capacity that is required for developing and delivering projects and grant programmes.

Old Luce Community Fund

A significant achievement for the community has been the establishment of the Old Luce Development Trust, which was set up in 2016 to deliver on the Old Luce Community Plan priorities and respond to the emerging funding opportunities. The Trust has accessed the Fund for several significant projects, including taking ownership of and re-developing some areas in the community:

  • Balkail Glen, an amenity wood well used by local residents and with potential for small-scale wood fuel. The Fund supported costs to transfer ownership of the wood and develop a management plan.
  • A derelict site at 21 Main Street, Glenluce, a former shop which was demolished and seen as an eyesore by local residents. The Trust has used the Fund to purchase the site and re-develop it as a small public park with seating and a noticeboard.
  • Brambles, a former café in Glenluce's main street, which closed some years ago leaving the community without anywhere to meet and socialise during the day. The Fund provided match funding for a successful bid to the Scottish Land Fund and is supporting the refurbishment of the property.

1. Annandale and Nithsdale Community Benefit Company Ltd (ANCBC)

During its first years of operation, the Board have funded an average of 28 projects a year directly through open grants and many more indirectly through local grants to Community Councils. Between April 2015 and March 2020, ANCBC supported 144 projects through open grant-making, distributing £1,300,927 to in total. The average award was £9,034.

The fund has supported a diverse range of projects including community transport provision, play parks, distribution of food parcels, local sports clubs, walking groups, music events, nature projects, support for disadvantaged community members, projects to help people with mental and physical disabilities, youth support, and local galas and shows. Applicants come in all shapes and sizes. Some groups are big and some are small, working in larger towns or smaller villages, so people from many different demographics are benefitting from the fund.

The largest grant, of £49,998, was awarded to Mossburn Community Farm in January 2016 over a three-year period, to provide equine therapies for people living with mental and physical disabilities. Since the Fund launched, ANCBC has supported 31 such community facilities across the area of benefit to the tune of just over £380,000, representing just under a third of the funds distributed through open grant-making over five years. These projects included new builds, maintenance, kitchen refurbishments, heating upgrades, accessibility improvements, extensions, flood prevention, replacement windows and doors, solar panels, pathways and parking facilities.

2. Gala Water History and Heritage Association

Since 2012, GWHHA has employed a parttime Community Archivist through grants from EDF's Longpark Community Fund. The Archivist supports others locally in their heritage related research and project work, organises exhibitions and does a variety of outreach and promotional work.

Some of the projects carried out by GWHHA, with the support of the Archivist, include:

  • Poppy Project: A commemorative installation and record of the stories of local people commemorated on the war memorial.
  • Borders Railway Booklet: A booklet of photos and local perspectives to commemorate the opening of the railway.
  • Working with local schools: The Archivist runs regular sessions for pupils, both in school and on site.
  • The Cafe Sessions: A popular monthly reminiscence group providing a rich source of stories and social connection.
  • 19th century cuttings books: Publication of copies of three notable 19th century cuttings books.
  • Exhibitions and displays: these are arranged at least twice a year.

3. Carsphairn Community Benefits

Lots of projects in the case study including:

  • The village hall has been largely upgraded with funding going towards new floors and tiling; exterior and interior decoration and the installation of a new heating system and insulation to improve energy efficiency.
  • The village hall is not the only place to have received funds for a facelift; Carsphairn Parish Church has welcomed repair and redecoration, mechanisation of the church bell as well as funding for social events.
  • The community benefit received enabled the community to have the ability to own the shop.
  • Local outdoor spaces have also been transformed thanks to such initiatives as the Carsphairn Community Garden Project.
  • The opportunity to positively influence the local primary school has also been taken, in the case of Carsphairn Primary School. The School have taken advantage of Community benefit funding a school grounds project and playground bench, the purchase of compost bins for the gardening club and contributions towards a mountain bike outing.
  • A total of 21 local people have enjoyed grants to fund their studies and enhance their future employment opportunities.

4. Ochil Youth Community Improvement (OYCI)

EDF's cluster of wind farms in the Ochil Hills provide a Community Fund that benefits several villages and small towns (the Hillfoots villages). In 2016, the Community Panel that oversees the Fund reviewed awards made in the previous two years and identified low levels of spend on activity for children and young people. It was also felt that there weren't many services or engagement activities in the Hillfoots for young people.

Following discussions on the best way to address this, the Panel decided to commission consultation work to find out what improvements young people would like to see in the area. An independent consultant with experience in working with young people was appointed, designed a research process and recruited a group of 10-17 year olds from local schools to get involved. The group came together to share their ideas then consulted with hundreds of their peers on what they would like to see offered for young people in the area.

In light of the group's shared passion to make their community better, they named themselves Ochil Youth Community Improvement (OYCI). Their findings and recommendations were presented to the Fund Panel in February 2017, in the Improving Our Communities Consultation Report. The consultant has since set up OYCI Community Interest Company (CIC) in June 2017 to take forward many of the recommendations.

Ochil Youth Community Improvement (OYCI) is a youth led social enterprise making change happen locally, entirely driven by young people's participation. The group is making real, positive change including launching a drama club, organising community clean ups, running a study club, developing enterprise initiatives, organising a drop in youth space and improving access to sports facilities.

You can watch a video about OYCI here.

5. Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund

Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) uses community benefit income from nearby wind farms and a hydro scheme to improve the lives of residents in this rural community.

SCBF has funded things like community transport, after school activities for children and running costs for community halls, as well as providing grants to help residents pay their fuel bills, make their homes more energy efficient or install renewables.

Changes to the fund governance in 2018 have helped the local community become more involved in SCBF. In 2018, SCBF also committed to making a number of large capital grants from accumulated reserves, to address strategic priorities that had been identified through community surveys and conversations. These priorities include supporting a community broadband initiative and major refurbishments of community halls. Further consultation on the proposed large grants was carried out before the awards were made. This should increase the impact of the funding and make sure it provides a long-term legacy.



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