SSCE Community Funds
The success of SSCE’s solar project in Whittington, coupled with consultancy work, means that for a number of years the Society has been able to use its surplus to make grants to local community organisations for projects aiming to improve energy-efficiency or provide other environmental benefit.
Organisations benefitting from funding have included Hammerwich Cricket Club, Christ Church in Burntwood, St Michael’s Church in Lichfield, Woodhouse Community Farm, Shenstone Village Hall, Hednesford Memorial Gardens and the Pathway Project.
A further round of funding for 2019-20 is now available. Community Fund Manager Robin Taylor said ‘Our solar panels are operating very well and providing significant benefits to the building owners while generating a surplus that is available for community initiatives. We are very pleased to be in a position to offer another round of funding for good projects which improve environmental sustainability including energy conservation, biodiversity, green transport, or local food. Our team are really looking forward to helping some great projects get off the ground.’
Applications to the fund are handled by the Community Foundation for Staffordshire, and community organisations can apply here
Saving Lives with Solar
The surplus from the Society’s panels on buildings belonging to the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) is being directed to help address fuel poverty. The concept is that consultants in A&E identify those people who continually present there with health conditions related to cold, damp homes, and request the patients’ permission to refer them to fuel poverty charity, Beat The Cold (BtC), who will then help the patient address as many factors as possible that are contributing to their inability to maintain a warm, dry home. BtC is the current recipient of the surplus from the Hospitals project. Since the project’s completion, SSCE has been working hard in conjunction with BtC and UHNM to get the Saving Lives with Solar project off the ground and make it “business as usual” for the consultants at UHNM: this work is now beginning to see real results with referrals to BtC increasing.
While the financial surplus was accumulating, the work by BtC was funded by a grant from the National Energy Agency, but in 2018 SSCE was in a position to allocate the whole of the surplus from the Hospitals project – just over £12,000 – to BtC to continue the Saving Lives with Solar project, and in 2019-20 the figure will be over £30,000. We expect payments to continue to be made every year.