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Berry Burn wind farm generates £62,240 for groups in Forres area

By Garry McCartney

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Berry Burn's turbines generate cash for the surrounding communities.
Berry Burn's turbines generate cash for the surrounding communities.

FUNDING of more than £60,000 generated by natural energy has been awarded to nine local groups.

The latest awards from the Berry Burn Community Fund total £91,640 to finance 14 projects across Moray and the Highlands including in the Forres area where a total of £62,240 will be shared.

Outgoing fund chairman David Houldsworth confirmed applications received were for well over twice the funds available and the latest round brings the total contribution awarded to date to just over £1million.

On his departure after two years in charge, newly appointed chairwoman Jana Hutt, said: "David will be a hard act to follow.

"This is our sixth year of operation and the members have decided to review our progress in benefitting the communities we support, and find out what we could do better in the future."

The Community Fund receives an index-linked annual budget of £190,000 from international renewables company Statkraft, whose 29-turbine Berry Burn wind farm lies between Forres and Grantown-on-Spey.

The fund is overseen by11members, living and working within the operational boundary which takes in the community council areas of Forres, East Nairnshire, Grantown-on-Spey, Cromdale and Advie, Speyside, Heldon, Findhorn and Kinloss, Finderne and Dyke Landward.

This annual budget is spread over three awards rounds held during the year.

The funding awarded locally in round 18 was: Friends of Blairs Loch, £20,000 for the redevelopment and extension of the stable building at Loch of Blairs into a field study classroom/meeting room; Leanchoil Trust, £10,000 for community impact assessment and business planning; Findhorn Bay Arts, £8000 towards the costs of staging the 2020 Findhorn Bay Festival: venue hire, local accommodation for performers/technicians, hire of vintage bus for transport and tours; Wild Things!, £7500 towards the purchase of a new minibus with disabled accessibility features; Forres and District Mens Shed, £5000 towards the purchase and installation of a dust extraction system in their workshop; Friendly Access, £5000 to provide SwimABLE and SurfABLE Scotland sessions; Forres and District Pipe Band, £3840 to meet the costs of fees for tuition on the pipes and drums; Lucy Evans, £1,500 to purchase an air pistol to progress shooting performance; and Edinkillie Community Association £1400 towards running costs of the hall (electricity and insurance) for 12 months.

The closing date for the next round is May 11, with decisions due to be made at the awards meeting for Round 19 on June 15.

All details of how to apply, application form, and contact details for the administrator, can be found at www.berryburncommunityfund.co.uk

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