Solway Coast energy projects receive grants from Robin Rigg wind farm fund.

Groups from Workington to Carlisle benefit from E.ON cash.

Groups in and around West Cumbria have received a share of £65,000 to spend on projects promoting sustainable living.

The Castle Hill Trust in Maryport, which runs volunteer-led sessions and events including arts and crafts, youth activities and a job club, was given £15,000 to upgrade its heating system.

It was among a host of grants issued from the Robin Rigg West Cumbria Fund, which supports causes close to E.ON’s Robin Rigg offshore wind farm.

The funding will make the grade II listed Georgian building a warmer, more pleasant place to meet, while reduced energy costs will leave more money to spend on new activities.

Jim O’Rourke, trustee, said: “I was delighted when I heard we had received the grant. The improvements should significantly reduce our energy bill, enabling us to provide more support to the local community. Cumbria Community Foundation has supported our predecessors and we are extremely grateful that they have agreed to continue to support local people through Castle Hill Trust.”

Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre, based at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, received £10,000 to help fund its Solway Nature Networks project.

Working in the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the centre will encourage local people to volunteer and map, identify and record the habitats and species of the Solway Plain. This will provide valuable information about the area that has previously been sufficiently recorded.

The project will end with a roving exhibition of the wildlife discovered and celebrate the hard work of the volunteers.

Deborah Muscat, manager at the centre, said: “Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre noticed that it was not receiving as much wildlife data for the Solway Coast as other parts of Cumbria. We are delighted to receive a grant for our Solway Nature Networks project. It will allow us to recruit and train a group of volunteers to help us find out more about habitats and species in the area.”

Also benefiting from the fund were the 4th Workington Guides and Scouts, which received money for building conservation, and 1st Seaton Scout Group, which was given a grant towards its new headquarters.

The Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve group received funding to help with desilting, water flow management and habitat creation, while Citizens Advice Allerdale was given a grant towards its rural outreach energy advice project.

Blindcrake Village Hall received cash towards its refurbishment, while the Friends of Siddick Ponds group was given a grant towards enhancement work.

The fund, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, benefits community projects that promote sustainable use of energy and resources, reduce climate change, and support nature conservation.

Since it was established in 2009, it has invested almost £500,000 in the community.

Emma Skelton, E.ON business service coordinator, said: “E.ON is proud to be an active member of the community. It’s great to see our fund benefiting so many local areas and projects.”

Funding applications are considered annually. The closing date for the next round is November 23.

 

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