The two 500kW Community Wind Turbines in Kingswood, Stroud are owned and operated by Resilient Energy Mounteneys Renewables (REMR), a Community Benefit Society registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
The turbines were installed in March 2017 with commissioning completed April 2017. The turbines are generating clean, green electricity in line with expectations and are well placed to deliver against the society’s social aims over the turbine’s operational lifetime. These include establishing the REMR Community Resilience Fund to help address the current needs and future challenges in the host communities of Kingswood, Wickwar, Hillesley and their immediate environs.
The society is committed to making a positive difference locally in addition to the environmental benefits directly associated with the generation of renewable energy.
PROGRESS OF THE REMR COMMUNITY RESILIENCE FUND
The Society has recently distributed grant allocations decided by the Advisory Panel, which consists of 11 residents representing the three villages. The Fund Criteria and Fund Application form can be accessed using the tabs at the top of the page. Summaries of the grants awarded in each 6-monthly round (deadlines of 30th April and 31st October) are provided in the tabs at the bottom of the page.
ADVISORY PANEL VACANCY
There is currently an Advisory Panel vacancy for a Hillesley representative, following the relocation of a panel member outside of the area. If you are a Hillesley resident interested in assisting the society in the allocation of its Community Resilience Funds via the 6 monthly Advisory Panel meetings, the Application Form (just 4 questions) can be accessed via the tab at the top of the page. Applications will be accepted until midnight on 31st October 2019.
LATEST REMR COMMUNITY RESILIENCE GRANTS AWARDED
Successful Applicants receiving grants in the latest round are detailed below. Details of previous rounds, including some photos of grant recipients, are provided in the tabs at the bottom of the page.
£2663 to Wickwar Parish Council for seating and items of play equipment for under 5’s at the King George V Playing Field to include:
- £549 for a picnic table
- £324 for a bench with arms
- £1336 for a Kompan spinner bowl
- £454 for a Tango seat
The Advisory Panel noted the playing field is currently well used and that other improvements have recently been undertaken. The importance of community outdoor space for all in the community is an important aspect of community resilience, particularly in relation to health and fitness and as a place for relaxing, and social connection with others in the community. These aspects were particularly recognised in the context of the planned increase in housing in the Wickwar area.
In addition to the importance of some seating provision for use by all ages in the community, the Advisory Panel recognised the current lack of provision of play equipment for the youngest members of the community.
£4226 to Alexander Hosea Primary School to support a switchover to LED lighting. The project promotes sustainable use of resources through energy efficiency and will have both environmental benefits and economic benefits for the school through on-going savings from reduced electricity demand. The Advisory Panel recognises that the project will enable the school to redirect funds to other core areas, which will directly benefit pupils. It will also provide an opportunity for the pupils to learn more about the LED project and become better informed about sustainable energy use, and the benefits of community based renewable energy generation.
An allocation of £3000 was also ring-fenced as a partial grant towards a new heating system for Old Chapel Hall, Hillesley, subject to provision of further information on the current condition of the building with regards to its current energy use, insulation status, and the potential improvements that could be achieved to reduce energy use, as well as details of the heating system proposed.
The Panel recognised the community importance of the Old Chapel Hall, a Grade II listed community hall owned by Hillesley Primary School, and would like to see the building continue to benefit the community. It understands the need for the capital improvements and the difficulty the school has in finding funds to ensure the space is usable by both the school and for other community purposes. It also recognises that improving existing community assets, can be an important aspect in building community resilience, particularly where an asset is at risk.
The Advisory Panel recommends exploration of the potential for renewable energy based heating, designed for the long term (and therefore helping to build community resilience), rather than a temporary fix, which would likely require additional funding in future. A number of other grant sources for potential additional funding have also been identified to the applicant in this respect.
REMR Community Resilience Fund Allocations
The society has committed to the allocation of 4% of turnover to help build community resilience in Kingswood, Wickwar, Hillesley and environs, by addressing current needs and future challenges. This is implemented via the establishment of the REMR Community Resilience Fund which was launched in 2018. There is no planning obligation for this (it is a voluntary commitment which has been an inherent part of the project from the initial concept and first public exhibition prior to the planning approval).
The funding will fluctuate each year dependent on the wind speeds experienced, and the subsequent income the society receives for electricity exported to the local grid.
REMR made the following grants from the REMR Community Resilience Fund in the first round with allocations made by an Advisory Panel of 11 local volunteers from the Kingswood, Wickwar and Hillesley area.
£5000 towards the St Marys Memorial Garden project, Kingswood. The project will create not only a pleasant garden space for reflection, but also a community facility where local people can come together and meet. It will deliver added benefits for both physical and mental health; important aspects in building community resilience. The Advisory Panel was encouraged by the funding secured from other grant sources, the work on the project completed to date, and the commitment of volunteers to ensure the project’s successful maintenance for future generations.
£650 to Wickwar Youth Club for installation of external LED lighting at the Youth Centre. The Advisory Panel recognises the cuts in availability of funding for youth projects in recent years and the hard work by the volunteers of Wickwar Youth Centre over many years. The panel is supportive of the continuation of the Youth Centre, and recognises its importance in terms of community resilience, particularly given the often limited youth provision in rural areas, and noting the high level of usage of the Wickwar Youth Centre. The Panel was also pleased to support the use of LED lighting minimising the energy used, reducing running costs and future maintenance costs.
£4000 to the Jubilee Field Management Committee, Hillesley – for improvements to the Children’s Play Area, the Hopkins Hall and the Sports Pavilion and (following evidence of successful completion of Phase 1) an additional £3000 for Phase 2 play and fitness equipment (subject to provision of supporting quotes). Securing the future for existing community assets is a key step in building community resilience. The improvements to the Hopkins Hall and Sports Pavillion are designed to make the facilities safer and more attractive so that they could be let more easily for functions. The project will also deliver community health benefits resulting from increased child activity due to the planned installation of play equipment, and the area provides an important role in community cohesion for both children and their parents/carers. The Advisory Panel believes the project will provide good value for the REMR Community Resilience Fund contribution, noting the high level of volunteer involvement, and the improvements to the facilities which will likely lead to more bookings, providing income to cover future maintenance costs.
£2184 for the provision of a defibrillator to service Hawkesbury, Inglestone, Harely and Assley Commons. The area is sparsely populated (but well used by walkers, cyclists) and it is currently some distance to assistance if a local resident or other member of the public is in need. The project includes consultation with the community on the defibrillator location and the training of volunteers. The Advisory Panel is aware that all ages can be affected by heart issues, and believes the requested contribution is a relatively small cost for potentially saving lives.
Applications to the fund which meet the fund criteria are considered twice yearly with deadlines for receipt of applications for each round at the end of April and end of October each year.
REMR Community Resilience Fund Advisory Panel
The society has now filled all 11 vacancies on the REMR Community Resilience Fund Advisory Panel which is made up of individual representatives of Kingswood, Wickwar and Hillesley. Current Panel members are:
R Alexander, R Davis, B Howes, S Jenkins, P Revill, T Roberts,
J Simmons, F Symes, P Trull, P Whitbread, R Woodland
Appointments are for 1-3 years. If you would like to register interest in joining the panel and be kept informed when a vacancy arises please email REACR@theresiliencecentre.co.uk.