More than 40 community groups in Durham benefit from wind farm community funds

ESB West Durham Wind Farm has donated thousands of pounds to over forty community projects in County Durham since 2010, through County Durham Community Foundation.

Their most recent recipient is Hamsteels Community Centre, which was awarded £6,000 to upgrade storage facilities and to fit a new full height window to make it more appealing for the groups using the centre.

Rhoda Makepeace, who is Secretary of the Community Association which runs the Centre said: “Being able to provide a new window to create better lighting and better storage space has given the local people the opportunity to socialise and interact with their community. This is significantly important for the older residents and those who live alone. The investment alone proves to local people the worth of the centre which acts as a marketing tool within itself, encouraging users to access the building, and the services and initiatives available within it.”

Hamsteels Community Centre is based in Esh Winning in Durham and there has been a building on the site since 1963. The centre is open seven days a week for local people to attend a wide range of activities, from boogie bounce, karate, kurling and bingo.

ESB West Durham Wind Farm set up their grant-giving fund eight years ago, with a special focus on helping projects within a 10-mile radius of the wind farm site.

Paul Lally, Stakeholder Officer’ for ESB West Durham Wind Farm aid:
“We are committed to being a good neighbour, supporting the communities in which we operate and helping them reach their full potential. In making this fund available to groups close to West Durham Wind Farm, we are contributing to development of essential infrastructure and services, and the creation of a brighter future for residents of its neighbouring rural communities. The funding towards the improvement of Hamsteels Community Centre is a clear example of the impact this type of funding can generate; making it possible to maintain and improve a facility that is obviously integral to so many local community groups.”

James Eaglesham, from County Durham Community Foundation, helps assess suitable local charitable causes for ESB Wind Farm Fund to give to. 

He said: “The Hamsteels Community Centre is entirely run by volunteers who dedicate a tremendous amount of time and energy to ensuring local people and the wider community have continuing access to a community facility of this type. The impact of the work that this Community Centre has already carried out shows the positive outcomes that the ESB West Durham Wind Farm Community Fund was specifically designed to deliver, and we’re pleased that funding is able to help secure the long-term future of such a valuable community resource”