Two local wind farm funds have now awarded £300,000 to community groups in County Durham.

REG Power Management set up their community benefits funds seven years ago, with a special focus on helping projects in communities near the wind farm sites.

The Community Foundation manages the funds (one linked to a site in South Sharpley and the other in High Haswell) giving groups the opportunity to apply for grants up to £5,000. Funding can be used for projects that improve local facilities, conserve local habitats or support community activities.

One of the groups to benefit was The Robin Todd Centre in South Hetton who used to convert all the existing lighting to energy efficient LED panel lighting.

James Shand from the centre said: “The new lighting has enabled us to reduce electricity costs and improve our lighting outside the building, helping with health and safety of all our users and the general public. We have also been able to light the rooms much better, which in turn is increasing room hire and usage of the centre. We have had so much positive feedback from all our members.”

Another group to benefit was the Wingate and Station Town Family Centre who were awarded £5,000 towards weekly ‘Kinder Kraft’ sessions. The craft activities introduce new skills to children, and parents gain ideas for activities they can try at home. The sessions provide parents with quality time to share with their little ones and a chance to meet friends.

Alison Nutter from the centre said “We are so grateful for the funding. The project has created opportunities for parents to engage with their children and understand how to support their early development so that they can enter Nursery ready to learn. We are hoping by the end of the project we will have helped support around 80 disadvantaged parents on low income, living in Wingate, Station Town or surrounding villages, to improve their emotional wellbeing and enjoy the time they spend raising their children.”

Carey Green from REG Power Management said “we are delighted to see the South Sharpley and High Haswell community funds benefit so many people and projects within the local community. Visiting some of the recipient projects has given us a clear understanding that the funding commitment from the wind farms is having a very real and significant impact. The two wind farms will continue to make annual donations throughout their working life and we look forward to it’s continued success.