Local communities working hard to benefit the environment have been awarded nearly £35,000 by Burnham & Weston Energy, a local enterprise generating electricity from one of the largest community solar farms in the UK.

Eleven groups across Highbridge, Burnham-On-Sea and Weston-super-Mare have been awarded grants from the Burnham & Weston Energy Sunshine Fund in the latest round administered by Somerset Community Foundation.

The projects support local people tackling causes and impacts of climate change, and include the creation of nature trails, dance performances, food clubs, plastic reuse, and helping people to repair household items.

The successful local groups are:

  • Create Together CIC: outdoor creative activities using natural materials, working to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Weston-super-Mare – £2,500
  • For All Healthy Living Company: food clubs, community fridge and repair café to address food poverty and reduce food waste in Weston-super-Mare – £7,000
  • Friends of Grove Park: community outreach and volunteer coordination for a green space in Weston-super-Mare – £2,000
  • Friends of Prince Consort Gardens: wildlife habitat creation in a community green space in Weston-super-Mare – £2,380
  • Sedgemoor Conservation Volunteers: upskilling conservation volunteers to use equipment, enabling the group to continue maintaining the local environment – £1,000
  • South Weston Activity Network: youth environmental action to rewild and improve green spaces in Weston-super-Mare – £1,180
  • St Peter & All Hallows Church, West Huntspill: creating a new community link with the South West Coast Path that will encourage exploration of local flora, fauna and wider environment – £2,500
  • The Stable / Hub Weston CIC: creating a Library of Things that will incorporate a repair centre, training programme and creation of volunteer opportunities in Weston-super-Mare – £1,000
  • Theatre Orchard: inclusive summer schools for young people to develop artistic responses to the climate and sustainability in Weston-super-Mare – £5,000
  • Weston-super-Mare Chamber of Commerce: community events inspired by SEE MONSTER, part of the Unboxed 2022 Festival, including cookery workshops, sustainable fashion show, and a group turning plastic found as litter into new products – £7,650
  • Youth UnLimited CIC: nature and wildlife clubs for young people to raise awareness about actions that can be taken to improve the environment in Highbridge – £2,500

Lynda Wookey, Impact and Development Director for Burnham & Weston Energy, said: “We had more interest in our Sunshine Fund than ever from community groups wanting to make a positive difference to not only our local environment, but to local people as well.”

“As a community interest company, we are honoured that we can use our profits to support these amazing organisations in making this world a better place for all of us to live in.”

The local volunteering group Friends of Grove Park in Weston-super-Mare, recently received their second grant from the fund. Natalie Donbavand, Volunteer Coordinator, explained: “We were set up by residents concerned about anti-social behaviour and vandalism in the park.”

“Our first grant from the Burnham & Weston Sunshine Fund, in 2019, supported a recycling project, which meant every single piece of rubbish in the park was recycled, which was really hard work but very rewarding. This latest grant will go towards a number of things, but mainly our core running costs.”

“Our volunteers include people with learning disabilities, addiction issues and so on, so funding for core costs is crucial as it allows us to put on activities and continue to run a safe and professional organisation for all our volunteers.”

The Burnham & Weston Energy Sunshine Fund has awarded over £50,000 since it was first launched in 2019. Projects benefiting from grants cover an area stretching up the Somerset coastline from Burnham-on-Sea to Weston-super-Mare, and inland to Mark and Winscombe. Burnham & Weston Energy expect to announce further successful grants applicants from this, and criteria for the next round of funding later this year.

For this and other funding opportunities, please visit the Somerset Community Foundation website for guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply

 
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