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£65,000 awarded to eco friendly communities

Photo courtesy of Castle Hill Trust

Community projects promoting sustainable living along the Solway Coast have received a share of £65,000 from the Robin Rigg West Cumbria Fund.

The fund, set up by energy company E.ON and administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, benefits community projects close to the Robin Rigg offshore wind farm that promote sustainable use of energy and resources, reduce climate change, and support nature conservation.

Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre (CBDC), based at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle received £10,000 to help fund their Solway Nature Networks project. Working in the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, CBDC will encourage local people to volunteer and map, identify and record the habitats and species of the Solway plain. This will provide valuable information about the area that hasn’t until now been sufficiently recorded. The project will end with a roving exhibition of the wildlife discovered and celebrate the hard work of the volunteers.

Deborah Muscat, Manager at CBDC, said: “Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre noticed that it was not receiving as much wildlife data for the Solway Coast as other parts of Cumbria.  We are delighted to receive a grant for our Solway Nature Networks project from E.ON and CCF.  It will allow us to recruit and train a group of volunteers to help us find out more about habitats and species in the area.”

Formerly known as The Settlement, the Castle Hill Trust in Maryport received £15,000 to upgrade the heating system in the building. The Trust, formed in 2017, provides volunteer-led activities such as arts and crafts sessions, a Job Seekers club and Friday night youth provision. The funding will make the grade 2-listed Georgian building a warmer, more pleasant place to meet, with reduced energy consumption and running costs, meaning more  to spend on new activities.

Jim O’Rourke, Trustee, said: “I was delighted when I heard we had received the grant. The improvements should significantly reduce our energy bill, enabling us to provide more support to the local community. Cumbria Community Foundation has supported our predecessors and we are extremely grateful that they have agreed to continue to support local people through Castle Hill Trust.”

Emma Skelton, E.ON Business service coordinator, said: “E.ON is proud to be an active member of the community. It’s great to see our fund benefiting so many local areas and projects.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Since the fund was established in 2009 it has invested almost half a million pounds into the local community. Promoting sustainable living is so important these days, and funds like the Robin Rigg West Cumbria Fund are crucial in helping projects make a bigger impact in their area.”

The Robin Rigg West Cumbria Fund considers applications once a year. The closing date for the next round is 23rd November. For more information, visit www.cumbriafoundation.org

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