Continuation of funding through 2015
Renew Wales receives funding for another year to help communities around Wales take enterprising action to combat climate change
We have recently been given the fantastic news that Renew Wales has received confirmation of funding for the whole of 2015. The Welsh Government and Big Lottery Fund has agreed to provide around £268,000 through the Sustainable Steps Programme (Delivered by the BIG fund and funded by money from dormant bank accounts) to help us continue our work, helping communities combat climate change around Wales.
The continuation of funding was in recognition of the tremendous work that has been done so far. A study of the effectiveness of Renew Wales during its time so far showed that it is effectively engaging with groups who are new to climate change. Of 73 groups involved in a survey, 42 (58%) had not previously been involved in an environmental project. Furthermore, it has been estimated that one third of projects are unlikely to have happened without support from Renew Wales.
Renew Wales has been involved with so many successful projects already and we would like to present a brief summary of some of the projects that have helped us ensure the continuation of funding:
Maindee Action Group:
Maindee Action Group are a new organisation working in Newport. They had identified a local need, among low income working families, for a food bank. They had an idea but did not know how to take it forward. They became involved in Renew Wales because it gave them access to the advice and expertise of Nina, their Renew Wales coordinator. She was able to put them in touch with Fairshare and help start getting food for the food bank.
Gower Power was named as one of ten Big Energy Idea winners by social investment fund Ignite. Renew Wales have provided support to the Swansea-based solar energy provider within the last year and were delighted to hear the news that Gower Power will be given the opportunity to pitch for up to £2 million investment at a very low rate of interest.
Corwen Reservoir Hydro Power Scheme:
The proposed scheme has a capacity of 55kW with a head of 150 meters. The scheme has been designed with a flow of 50l/s and it is estimated that it will produce 128,000kWh per annum and produce a gross income of £32,000 per annum. Estimated construction costs are just under £300,000.
Hugh Caswell's Energy Efficient Lighting Projects:
Renew Wales mentor, Hugh Caswell, has been carrying out inexpensive modifications to old lighting to help save people a lot of energy. He converts the old-style sleepy ‘cave-effect’ lighting into a ‘wide-awake’ direct-indirect lighting in minutes and the results always save upwards of 50% of energy.
With the continuation of funding secured, we are aiming to provide support for 60 more community groups, as well as provide 30, that are already involved, with further mentoring support to drive their projects forward. On top of this, there will be more regional workshops and another Renew Wales conference to allow the exchange of ideas and to link groups with others striving to improve their communities. These are targets that we can expect to meet, given our success so far. By granting Renew Wales continued support and funding, we can also hope to keep educating people and spreading word about the problems of climate change and show how people can act now and locally to help prevent it.
Renew Wales coordinator, Bethan Gritten of Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig (DEG), had this to say about the continuation of funding through 2015: “Renew Wales has enabled me to provide versatile support to a wide range of groups, both new and existing. The programme has been able to accommodate our local needs brilliantly, dovetailing with regional support and devolving responsibilities where local leadership has been appropriate. The mentoring aspect has facilitated a huge transfer of knowledge into this area, particularly around community renewables.
This is not a light touch virtual network focusing just on information sharing, it is a strong and dynamic collective of people and organisations supporting each other to get stuff done. Renew shows that the whole really is more than the sum of its parts - there has been a step change in community led action on climate change in Wales in the past two years which would not have happened without it.”
Another Renew Wales coordinator, Dawn Davies of Timecentres UK, added: "It has been a great privilege being able to provide support to community organisations who are working hard to lead the way in developing sustainable communities. The Renew Wales project has made all the difference to these organisations and our own by providing the means to drive projects forward".
The positivity surrounding this news has been supplemented further by the announcement that we have been selected as one of the finalists for this year’s Wales Green Energy Awards. Renew Wales has been recognised for engaging the community, in an award that celebrates the success and achievements of the green industry in Wales: http://www.renewableuk-cymru.com/finalists-announced-for-wales-green-energy-awards/