Transforming communities

23rd November 2020

Hellrigg Windfarm, operated by RWE Renewables is helping to transform its local communities through the Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.

Solway Community School Bike Club based in Solway Community School, received £1,323 to set up. The club aims to get students on their bikes and out into the countryside to improve fitness and wellbeing as well as helping with team building and leadership skills.

 Andrew Callaway, a teacher at the school, said: “The money was used to buy tools and spare parts to help the students learn how to maintain their bikes and ensure they are safe when we go out on rides. Training  has also be given on how to safely lead group rides on the roads. The students are thrilled that we have been awarded this money and  making this dream into a reality.”

Based in Mawbray village, The Lowther Arms closed in December 2018. In May that year, Holme St Cuthbert’s parish council applied for the pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value, which allowed the newly formed group to bid and gave six months breathing space to consider all the options including a community buy-out.

The grant from Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has covered volunteer expenses, such as travel costs, meeting room and stationary, so that members of the group can progress with the process.

Chris Atkinson, Chairman, said “We’ve lost just about everything else in the parish, including the shop, post office, and most of our bus services.

“When we realised there was overwhelming support to buy the pub, we immediately began to organise ourselves. A local survey showed that most people want to save the heart of the village – a traditional pub serving traditional food, but with extra facilities like a small shop, meeting place, library, café and courier collection point.”

The group is supported by the Plunket Foundation’s More than a Pub initiative, funded by Power to Change with access to specialist business support.

St Andrew’s Church Hall, based in Silloth, benefits around 200 people in the community. The hall is part of St Andrew’s church and part of the West Cumbria Network. The hall provides a variety of activities, clubs and groups including a weekly lunch club, free legal advice, and social activities; for example craft classes. The hall is also available to hire.

The church has undergone a number of improvements over the past couple of years, including new windows and doors and redecoration.

This grant from Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund  supported the renovation of the flooring in the main hall. Many of the users of the all are over 80 years of age and this has meant that the floor is now safe to walk on and without hazards.

The new floor is enjoyed by cubs, sewing classes, pensioners clubs, craft classes, yoga and over 30 people at its free lunches. They also  hold evening dinner and entertainment.

Originally set up by Inspira, CYA started delivering the project in 2017 when Inspira pulled out. Running in collaboration with other youth organisations in Allerdale, it has had an appreciable impact on anti-social behaviour rates across the borough. It works in partnership North Allerdale Development Trust, Wigton Youth Station, Aspatria Dreamscheme, Castle Hill Trust, GLL, Soundwave and South Workington Youth Partnership.

Each organisation offers different youth-led activities in venues across the borough on a Friday night. This grant from the Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund  has supported young people aged between 11 and 19 come together to enjoy a wide range of activities such as team games, quiz nights, craft sessions and cookery workshops.

Cath Clarke, Chief Officer of Cumbria Youth Alliance, said: “Access to positive activities really assists with ensuring young people make a successful transition into adulthood. They become more engaged and we notice marked improvements in their behaviour. Many young people started on the programme as beneficiaries and have now moved into volunteering positions, helping more young people to benefit in the communities.

“Local police have remarked to the clubs what a difference this project makes to young people who often have nowhere else to go. It has led to reduction in petty and persistent offending in some of the most disadvantaged communities in West Cumbria.”