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Funding go-ahead for greener rural community buildings

Funding go-ahead for greener rural community buildings

Funding has been secured for feasibility studies to go ahead on local community buildings in a step towards greener energy generation thanks to the Rural Community Energy Fund, which is managed by the North East Yorkshire and Humber Energy Hub and administered by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.

Fourteen community buildings across rural Northumberland have been given the green light to find out what they can do to lower their heating and maintenance costs and become more sustainable by having on-site renewable energy. Studies for the generation, management and storage of renewable energy will provide much needed options for these communities in their bid to make their buildings warmer, more sustainable and more usable for the whole community.

Facilitated by the newly launched Rural Design Centre Innovation Project, communities from across Northumberland were brought together for a virtual workshop, where they had a chance to vocalise the issues they’re facing, and, led by Community Action Northumberland, the successful bid was developed.

Andy Dean, Chief Executive of Community Action Northumberland said, “This grant is a direct result of successful collaboration between the Rural Design Centre, CAN and local communities, reflecting our collective commitment to decarbonisation. At CAN, we are looking forward to many more joint initiatives with the Rural Design Centre aimed at tackling a range of the entrenched issues facing Northumberland’s rural communities.”  

Supporting research and development through challenges like this one are at the heart of what the Rural Design Centre team are doing. The programme aims to bring together a wide range of communities, local businesses and organisations to develop new products, solutions and services that can further support the development and progression of the rural economy in the North East of England. Each challenge will focus on a different issue faced by rural communities, so there will be opportunity for many different types of organisations to get involved.

Working together to discover and explore solutions and taking the opportunity to listen and learn from the people experiencing these challenges is the mainstay of the project. Those eligible will have to opportunity to apply for a grant to bring these ideas and solutions to fruition.

The project is welcoming contact from organisations within the North East working in relevant areas such as installation of solar PV, the options for battery storage solutions, grid management and energy arbitrage solutions in rural communities. Interested parties should email rural-innovation@advancenorthumberland.co.uk

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