Wind farm community fund helps Scottish villages and towns’ COVID-19 response

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FOUR Hillfoots community councils in Clackmannanshire are supporting a plan to re-direct local community funding from EDF Renewables Burnfoot Hill Wind Farm to support their COVID-19 responses, giving an immediate funding boost of £12,000 to the local area.

Each of the four communities – Alva, Dollar, Menstrie and Tillicoultry, Coalsnaughton and Devonside– receive funding annually from the wind farm.

Part of that money, £3,000, was set aside for community events in each area.

Now the money will be used to help local people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Matthieu Hue, EDF Renewables CEO, commented on the news: “During these unsettling times it is clear communities working together is essential and it is great to see people are pulling together to help those who are most in need.

“It is heart-warming to see the Hillfoots communities use the wind farm fund in this way.”

Alva Community Council will use their grant to support work in partnership with community groups including the Alva Development Trust, Alva Baptist Church, Alva Co-op, Cochrane Foundation, Alva Parish Church, St John Vianney Catholic Church, Alva Community Council and Girl Guiding Scotland.

The group is called the Alva Coronavirus Response Group.

The funding will go towards supporting Alva Development Trust’s existing food bank and extend its services to all vulnerable.

Alva Development Trust will also provide a shopping service with delivery and a telephone befriending service to reduce the impact of social isolation and support mental health.

Dollar’s grant will support the established community food larder to issue food parcels.

The community is also providing a shopping and pharmacy collection service, overseen by Dollar Community Development Trust in partnership with the Community Council.

The Community Council has already made some Covid-19 grants from their own micro-grant scheme, including purchasing additional software for remote meetings.

The added funding will also support increased overhead costs for the Hive while it is open for longer hours to support the community.

Menstrie Community have printed and delivered flyers to every household in the village with details of chemist opening hours, Scotmid delivery and the Community Council’s emergency contact number for any help or assistance required.

The community are also working with their Third Sector Interface to organise an essentials bag to hand deliver to all elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating residents within the village.

Dave Sharp of Menstrie Community Council commented: “With help from EDF funding, we can carry on supplying and delivering to the most needy in our village.

“We have 1,300 homes, not all will require assistance, but with some planning and volunteering we can make the difference during this testing time.”

Over at Tillicoultry, the community has started a phone line people can call to request support.

Forty local volunteers are now able to get expenses for the direct and immediate support they are giving and new leaflets are being printed to let people know about services like these on offer.

Damian Sherwood-Johnson Chair of Tillicoultry, Coalsnaughton and Devonside Community Council, commented: “We want the benefits and improvements possible through this funding to be highly visible and to be clearly felt, so local people know that their sacrifices created some lasting good.

“We are looking to the future and the funding helps us to be ready for it.

“We will hold a Community Come-Together at which we will ask for the views of the community on how best any funding may be used to mitigate against any negative effects of the pandemic.”

The Burnfoot Hill Fund is managed by Foundation Scotland on behalf of EDF Renewables.

Eimear Cassidy, Community Fund Coordinator, added: “The quick and coordinated response of the Burnfoot Hill Communities to the current pandemic has been inspiring in these challenging times.

“It’s genuinely uplifting to see people coming together so quickly to support and look out for those most vulnerable in their communities”.