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Community councils benefit 10-fold from wind farm funding

AN INNOVATIVE community council group is continuing its impressive local benefit work after receiving major funding from a nearby onshore wind farm.

Banks Renewables has awarded East Ayrshire’s 9 Community Council Group (9CC Group) – which delivers a host of beneficial projects in the local area – with a £10,000 grant to help fund its running costs.

Founded in 2019, the group is made up of nine East Ayrshire communities working together towards one overarching goal to deliver strategic, legacy projects within each community, with help from investment from local renewable energy projects.

The group’s recent £10k grant has come from Banks Renewables’ Lethans Wind Farm, situated east of New Cumnock in East Ayrshire. The funding will help the 9CC Group with a range of running costs from venue hire and volunteer costs to advertising new vacancies within the group.

Stephen McCarron, Secretary at the 9CC Group said: “By bringing our councils together, we are certain that we can create long-lasting local benefit in a variety of forms for every community located within East Ayrshire’s 9CC Group eligibility area. The recent funding from Banks Renewables helps us massively on that journey.

“The possibilities in helping our communities may include revamping integral town halls to building new and additional recreation and leisure facilities, whilst benefits such as creating new jobs in the local area and providing children with safe spaces to socialise can also be created.

“Another one of the 9CC Group’s key objectives is to ensure that renewable developer investment is maximised, carrying out in-depth, strategic planning ahead of these exciting projects – putting both developers’ and local people’s minds at rest knowing funds are being invested responsibly.

“We’ve built fantastic relationships with local developers like Banks, and it is heartening to know that groups such as this are among many other stakeholders, communities and councils that are backing this valuable movement.”

The community councils of Auchinleck, Cumnock, Netherthird, Cronberry, Logan & Lugar (CLL), New Cumnock, Dalmellington, Patna, Drongan, Rankinston & Stair (DRS) and Ochiltree & Skares are the nine community councils that make up the 9CC Group.

The group will also benefit from various nearby windfarm projects – such as Lethans, North Kyle, Greenburn and Pencloe – with each windfarm contributing £5k per megawatt generated over the lifetime of the developments.

Alex Baird, Chair of the 9CC Group said: “This is such a unique project that has not only unified our community councils, but will also bring small communities across East Ayrshire together.

“Renewable funding like this can provide excellent facilities to communities, but it’s now our job to ensure that the investment is spent with longevity and strategy in mind.

“We’re delighted that Banks Renewables has decided to support this meaningful community project and we are really looking forward to working with them closely to continue bringing value to East Ayrshire.”

It is estimated there will be more than £120m in community benefit income for the 9CC Group over the next 25 to 30 years, 70% of which will go towards major strategic projects across the area, with the other 30% being split across the community councils.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables said: “At Banks, we strongly believe that the community should directly benefit from our renewables projects and in more ways than one, the 9CC Group is a vital project doing just that.

“We hope that by supporting the group now, as well as further down the line, we will enable the group to continue its excellent work bringing communities together by supporting and kickstarting positive local projects.”

For more information on Banks Renewables, please visit their website.

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