Advice and bursaries launched for energy-conscious communities

Advice and bursaries launched for energy-conscious communities

A solar PV installation on the roof of the Lake District National Park Authority headquarters, in partnership with Community Energy Cumbria.

Communities in South Lakeland looking to make their village hall more energy efficient or explore a renewable-energy scheme can now tap into free guidance and a bursary scheme.

The support is possible thanks to funding from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) and is being delivered by Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS).

“We’re able to offer specialist advice to help communities look into different options and work out the best way forward in their situation,” said Rhona Pringle from CAfS, who is managing the advice service.

“It could be anything from improving insulation in a village venue, to setting up a solar PV scheme owned by the community.”

The funding will also enable CAfS to continue supporting organisations that have received guidance on low-carbon community-energy schemes in previous years.

“New for this year, we’re able to offer extra support for individuals,” Rhona said. “Research shows that most community schemes to reduce energy use or set up renewable energy tend to have one or two main people who drive them forward, and we want to give them an extra helping hand to develop their skills, capacity and confidence on both energy efficiency and community energy.”

This support could include access to a mentor, networking events, a study tour and a bursary to enable people to expand their knowledge and skills, for the benefit of the community.

“There’ll be more information shortly about the bursaries, which will be up to £500, but if anyone would like to register an interest now we will send them details shortly,” Rhona said.

CAfS will also run a programme of events focusing on different aspects of low-carbon energy that are relevant to communities in South Lakeland. This will include ‘An Evening With’ event featuring an inspirational speaker who has led a community-driven low-carbon transformation in their community.

SLDC’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Jonathan Brook, added: “SLDC is pleased to be able to work with CAfS to help local communities across the district save energy and reduce costs through the delivery of low carbon community energy schemes.

“Communities in South Lakeland are incredibly resourceful and I look forward to seeing schemes coming forward as a result of the help being offered through this initiative.”

The advice scheme is available until the end of March next year and anyone interested in the bursary or the other support on offer should contact CAfS: office@cafs.org.uk or 01768 210276.