Opportunity for WNCBC Members to access a free Renewable Energy Feasibility Study in your Halls and Community Buildings.
Towards the end of February, Austin Iliffe (Whitley Chapel Parish Hall) contacted WNCBC to say that he had been made aware of potential grants available to halls and community buildings from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) to cover the cost of feasibility studies and business case preparation for renewable energy projects.
Both his Parish Hall and their local school were interested in applying for these funds, so he contacted the Nort East and Tees Valley co-ordinator for the fund for further information. RCEF emphasised that the funding Board’s preference was for larger projects and Austin therefore contacted WNCBC as it was clear that their response meant that applications from individual Village Halls were unlikely to be successful.
WNCBC were aware that CAN was already working with RCEF on some project initiatives (those of you who came along to Powburn to attend the #VillageHallsWeek event organised by CAN may remember that Josh Sawyer, a representative of RCEF, was present and was introduced to those attending) and therefore referred Austin to Andy Dean at CAN. Since then, Andy, Austin and Josh have been collaborating to find a genuinely workable proposal which is tailor-made for Village Halls and have explored the idea of grouping halls together as a means of making a joint application.
It was also suggested that the application (for the two feasibility studies phases of the process only) might come from WNCBC, as an umbrella organisation, with help from CAN in managing the process. That way, it is possible to submit larger applications which are more likely to be looked on favourably by the Funding Board. To deal with the applications in this way would mean that WNCBC’s membership (which consists predominantly, as we all know, of small rural halls) would not miss out on the opportunity to have ‘free’ feasibility studies done.
A broad proposal was therefore put together by Andy and Josh and circulated to the WNCBC Committee for examination before submitting it to our members, and the proposal, along with an Expression of Interest form is now attached.
WNCBC would like to know how many of our members would be interested in having a feasibility study done for their premises, so please read through both documents in the links below and if you are interested, please forward the completed ‘Expression of Interest’ document to Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or to Louise (email@example.com ). In the meantime, please feel free to contact Sarah or Louise with any questions you might have.
It has also been agreed that this proposal will be trialled with WNCBC members initially, before being rolled out county-wide, so this is a genuine opportunity for you to be ahead of the game!