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Wind farm generates £1m in community benefits

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A wind farm located between Longtown and Gretna has paid more than £1m in grants to the local community.

The nine turbines at Beck Burn began generating electricity in 2017 producing enough power for 18,000 homes. As part of the scheme, operator EDF Renewables UK agreed to pay £155,250 a year to community projects within a 10-kilometre radius.

Administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, the level of grant funding awarded has now passed a significant milestone, with a £10,300 grant to Springfield & Gretna Green Community Asset Trust, to replace windows at Stormont Hall in Gretna Green, taking the total paid to more than £1m.

Simon Ling, Asset Manager for Beck Burn Wind Farm said:

“It’s wonderful to see such a significant milestone be reached. We are thrilled to see such worthy projects receive funding to enhance the lives of those living in and around Longtown and Gretna and look forward to hearing more over the coming months.”

Raydale Community Partnership is the single largest beneficiary, having received grants totalling £85,000 since 2018. The not-for-profit organisation was formed following the collapse of Gretna FC to buy back the club’s ground, Raydale Park, for use by the community. Longtown Memorial Hall and Community Centre in Cumbria has also received a total of £48,000 for essential internal developments.

The Beck Burn Wind Farm Community Fund prioritises grants to volunteer-led or community groups within a five-kilometre radius, although groups up to 10 kilometres away can apply if they deliver benefits in the five-kilometre area. Grants are normally between £1,000 – £20,000, awarded to support charitable, community activities that are environmental, educational, sporting or community related. 

Part of the fund is ringfenced for education and training grants for individuals over 16 living within specific local communities, with a particular emphasis on those studying renewable energy. Further information on the educational fund can be found here.

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