Generating support for local communities

27th March 2024

Wind farms in Essex generate more than renewable energy, they also provide a vast amount of support for their surrounding areas.

Companies that run wind farms in the county are fulfilling a commitment to give back to communities where their developments are based by funding local amenities, educational initiatives and social activities.

Over the past decade almost £1.2 million has been distributed in Essex from the funds we manage on behalf of several wind farms in the county.

Working with residents in the areas where wind farms are located, we look at local priorities and consider applications for funding for a wide range of projects.

Caroline Taylor, CEO at ECF, said, “Wind energy is the world’s fastest growing renewable energy source, a trend that is expected to continue as technology costs fall and concerns around energy security and environmental issues rise.

“These developments do have an impact on local communities, so it is important that we work with residents to understand the needs of their community and identify the priorities for support.

“The grants support a wide range of projects and activities which will benefit people of all ages now and for years to come.”

Ben Donald, General Manager at Galloper Wind Farm said: “We have been successfully operating in Harwich since 2018. We decided to form an ongoing partnership with Essex Community Foundation to further our engagement with the community where we live and work.

“This is embedded in our team and corporate values, and it is a joy to witness how the grants given from our fund are benefiting local people. We also get to experience this first-hand through the time we spend with local schools, community groups and at organised events to promote the benefits of renewable energy.” 

Galloper is helping to combat social isolation by funding the much-needed Harwich Connexions Community Transport service, which is tailored to rural communities around Colchester, enabling people to go shopping and attend medical appointments.  Thanks to support from the Galloper Wind Farm Fund the service has been able to expand its fleet of minibuses, ensuring that no-one is left stranded just because they live in a rural area.

In addition, the 4th Dovercourt Sea Scouts Group received funding to replace their minibus, ensuring that they can continue to take their members on outings and take part in outdoor activities including camping and kayaking (main picture).

The Bradwell Wind Farm Community Fund has given over £300,000 to support projects in its local area. Among the groups to benefit is the Thursday Club, which has been able to run its Christmas celebration for elderly residents over several years.  The club plays an important role, giving many of its members who live alone in a rural community the chance to enjoy some social time together.

Wind farms in Bradwell, Middlewick and Turncole are providing a wide range of support on the Dengie Peninsula. Grants given to The Dengie Project have resulted in a befriending service being established and have also funded a replacement minibus for a service that helps to reduce isolation.

Outings for the elderly in St Osyth have been directly funded by Earls Hall wind farm, with the aim of providing Dumount Luncheon Club’s 60 club members a chance to socialise and a warm place to meet and enjoy to a hot meal.  For many members who are housebound and having to balance their budgets with care, the weekly social is a lifeline.

We currently manage six charitable community benefit funds associated with wind farms in the county:

  • Bradwell Wind Farm Community Fund, created in 2013, provides grants to support a broad range of issues and charitable projects that benefit people living in Bradwell-on-Sea and Tillingham.
  • Earls Hall Farm Community Benefit Fund was established in 2014 to support communities surrounding the wind farm development in Clacton and St Osyth.
  • Turncole Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund supports projects in the parishes of Southminster and Burnham-on-Crouch that enhance the quality of life for local residents, contribute to vibrant healthy, successful and sustainable communities, promote community spirit and encourage community activity.
  • The Middlewick Farm Community Benefit Fund and The Middlewick Scholarship Fund provide grants to support voluntary and community activity and individuals within a 10-mile radius of the Middlewick wind farm.   The Scholarship Fund awards educational grants to students living near the wind farm, with a preference for applicants studying environmental or construction related subjects.
  • Galloper Wind Farm Community Fund was launched in March 2018 and supports charitable, educational and environmental activities in the Harwich area.  The Offshore Wind Farm is located approximately 30km off the coast of Suffolk, with the operations and maintenance activity being carried out from Harwich International Port.

Facts (Source RWE)

  • the UK has over 11 thousand wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 30gigawatts (GW): 15 GW onshore and 15 GW offshore, the sixth largest capacity of any country.
  • Wind power is the largest source of renewable energy in the UK.
  • Wind generates more than a quarter of UK electricity, but less than gas over a whole year.