Our “Love your home” message is an important part of our company ambition to create a world that runs entirely on green energy. This means that “community” is at the heart of everything we do.
The communities in which we operate our 11 offshore wind farms play a vital role in our continuing success in the UK, which is why we have established Community Benefit Funds (CBF) to support local groups and organisations.
Our three funds have so far more than £2.5 million awarded to around 200 deserving community projects on both the East and West coasts. Funds are awarded through a committee made up of community specialists to ensure that the needs of the local communities are carefully considered.
Funds are awarded to groups across a number of key categories including: Arts, Community Activities & Services, Community Buildings & Facilities, Education & Skills, Heritage, Nature Conservation Parks & Open Spaces, Play Facilities and Sport
The Burbo Bank Extension CBF is worth approximately £225,000 each year for the lifetime of the Project and has so far awarded 82 grants. During the last 12 months alone, the fund has supported more than 20 projects across Merseyside, and North Wales – directly benefitting around 44,000 individuals.
The Walney Extension CBF is linked to the world’s largest offshore wind farm and has to-date awarded more than £1.2million to local group and projects. Out of the £600,000 annual CBF pot, £100,000 is ring-fenced for a 'Skills Fund' to promote education, support local students and increase uptake of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects for young people.
Our East Coast Fund is our most recent Community Benefit Fund and has already awarded grants to 58 projects across its first rounds of funding, as well as £75,000 in Skills Fund awards.
Community Benefit Funds, are just one way in which we aim to make a positive difference to the communities in which we work. We’re also partnering with organisations, schools and colleges to support and encourage the next generation of talent.
We have partnered with Teach First to engage and inspire young people in schools across Merseyside, Grimsby and Hull. Teach First aims to place more teachers in these areas with a specific focus on STEM related subjects. We are supporting the charity on a number of challenging targets to improve teacher attraction and retention, and pupil progression.
Our Apprenticeship schemes in Grimsby and Barrow have attracted hundreds of applications over the last two years and are delivered in partnership with Grimsby Institute and Furness College, respectively.
Community safety is also important to us which is why we have pledged our support to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to help the charity in its mission to save lives at sea, with a new three-year partnership.
As a company building major offshore wind projects to be the backbone of the UK’s future energy system, we understand the challenges faced by RNLI crews working out at sea, and we want to help these lifeboat stations continue operating safely and efficiently.
Our contribution of more than £200,000 helps to fund running costs of lifeboats at seven RNLI lifeboat stations across the UK to help the charity continue their invaluable work.
The communities in which we operate are also home to our offices, which are helping to regenerate the surrounding areas. Our Kings Wharf facility, in Liverpool, opened in 2017 and is home to 45 full-time staff. The multi-million pound, purpose-built facility is used for the storage of materials and equipment required for the ongoing maintenance of the wind farms, as well as office facilities for staff. A new ladder on the quay wall also enables boats to “push on” directly, allowing easy access for technicians to board.
However, another key part of the project was the area in front of the facility, which has been completely restored and revitalised – with new benches and granite paving to create a pleasant community space.
Our new state-of the-art facility East Coast Hub, currently under construction at Grimsby’s Royal Docks, will be the UK’s largest offshore wind O&M base and will be a game changing industry first, raising the bar for the way we maintain offshore wind farms. Due for completion early next year, the project is being built by local construction firm Hobson & Porter and will be home to around 250 of our East coast team.
Over recent years, we have built strong relationships with local communities across the UK and remain committed to making a real and lasting difference for many years to come!