Press Release – Community Benefit Fund 2021

Chester Community Energy Ltd (CCEL) has recently awarded grants to local community groups from revenues received from its solar PV generating installations at Northgate Arena, Christleton Sports Centre and Neston Recreational Centre.  A total of £5,000 was offered to local charities/community groups for energy reduction measures to their buildings. Nine applications were received this year and four were short-listed to attend a joint Zoom interview session to enable the difficult task of selecting the successful applicant. A panel of four members of CCEL were responsible for the selection process and choosing the successful applicants, with support provided by Cheshire West Voluntary Action. The panel consisted of Julie Savory, Sue Steeland, Graham Booth and Simon Brown ably assisted by Joanna Stanton of CWVA.

Applications were received from:

  1. Ashton & Manley Scout Group
  2. Cheshire, Halton & Warrington Race & Equality Centre (CHAWREC)
  3. Dodleston Village Foundation
  4. Holy Trinity Church, Blacon
  5. Huntington Scout Group
  6. Live Laugh Lache
  7. Neurotherapy Centre, Saltney
  8. Tarporley Community Centre
  9. Transformation for Veterans, Tarporley

The successful applications were:

  1. CHAWREC, who received £1,750 for new LED lighting to the ground floor of their Unity Centre in Cuppin Street, Chester.
  2. Dodleston Village Foundation, who received £750 towards completing their LED lighting replacement in the village hall.
  3. Neurotherapy Centre, who received £2,000 towards changing a total of 78 fluorescent lamps to new LED fittings in the centre in Saltney.
  4. Tarporley Community Centre, who received £500 to complete their LED lighting upgrade in the village hall.

All the applicants were informed of the awards and the unsuccessful applicants will be offered advice from the panel on how they can improve their applications if they require it.

The successful applicants were delighted to be helped by the new fund which will be awarded annually. The amount of funding in the future will depend in part on the fittle British weather but it is hoped that the present level of funding will be maintained. Graham Booth, a director of CCEL, said “There are so many local voluntary groups providing excellent support to their communities and we would love to offer more help. Even though government financial support and incentives for renewable energy are not readily available any more, CCEL are working hard to grow the business. Like many other community energy organisations, we are looking for ways to bring energy generation into community ownership and share any rewards within our communities”.

CCEL is a community benefit society that is funded by its members who purchase shares in the society. They receive annual interest, which is presently set at 4% and cash in their shares at face value after three and before fifteen years. All surplus money from the projects is used to invest in the business and provide grants to local community groups. The society is run by volunteers with the help of a part time administrator, and welcomes new volunteers with the necessary skills, into the business.

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