An £8,000 project to power Highbridge Community Hall from solar energy has been completed despite its council funding bid being turned down.

The group that operates the Market Street building has installed sixteen solar panels on its roof to cut its energy bills and lower running costs.

The centre has had to dip into its own cash reserves and undertake extra fundraising to complete the scheme.

The group had hoped to receive thousands of pounds of grant funding for the project from local councils, however, the grant funding rules changed last year and public buildings can no longer receive cash from local authorities for projects where ‘feedback tariffs’ could enable them to make a profit in the future.

Highbridge Community Hall Chairman Rosemary Parsons told “Unfortunately, we were just too late for the grant funding before the changes started, which was disappointing.”

“But we’ve gone ahead with the scheme anyway by fundraising and are pleased that the panels have already started generating power for the hall.”

“This project will help us to keep costs down and pass on the savings to the hall’s users.”

Local charitable organisation Communities First in Highbridge awarded £1,700 towards the project.