THE Den Brook Community Fund Committee met “virtually” in February to approve four more Community Grants which brought the total grants allocated so far to more than £165,000.
During the last four years, the five parishes adjacent to the Den Brook Wind Farm invested funds in their local communities through membership of the Den Brook Community Fund.
It was in 2015 that the five parish councils of Bow, North Tawton, South Tawton, Spreyton and Zeal Monachorum signed a Service Level Agreement with RES (Renewable Energy Systems), which manages the Den Brook Wind Farm.
The agreement enables the Fund Committee to distribute grant payments during the life of the wind farm.
The wind farm of nine 120 metre high turbines became operational in November 2016.
Stephen Webb, the Responsible Finance Officer for the Den Brook Community Fund, said: "Over four years the Committee received £210,373.90 in grant monies to invest in capital project proposals submitted by local voluntary, not-for-profit organisations and social clubs which are based within the parish boundaries.
"The overall fund is apportioned to a pre-agreed formula based partly on parish populations."
Mr Webb explained that, meeting twice yearly, the Committee uses Cost Benefit analysis, various accountancy ratios and a set of seven pre-defined benefits to assess project proposals.
He explained: "This approach enables disparate project proposals to be assessed in a consistent way, enabling it to measure investments made by the Committee across their local communities.
"Based on the number of benefits validated on each grant application and divided by the amount of each grant, the amalgamated amounts of the investment are:
• Provision of a sustainable legacy - £30,555.12
• Energy saving proposals - £15,469.95
• Promotion of Equal Opportunities - £22,094.72
• Promotion of Health and Well-Being - £32,084.14
• Provision of services to vulnerable and disabled people - £24,480.18
• Encouragement of voluntary and social activities - £32,671.38
• Improve local employment opportunities - £8,059.01."
Mr Webb said that the fund has contributed to all kinds of projects.
He continued: "Large building renovations (usually funded in stages) include improvements to village halls and youth clubs. "Medium-sized grants have helped sporting clubs to establish or renovate playing fields and provide machinery to maintain them, as well as the provision of sporting equipment and secure storage facilities.
"Other grants include provision of stage lighting and sound systems, whilst smaller projects have provided scout groups with tents and camping equipment. and new toys for nursery groups.
"Overall, the committee have provided financial assistance to 35 projects and the average cost to the fund to achieve each benefit has been £946.16, with the lowest at £155 and highest at £3,333."
Mr Webb concluded: "As we slowly emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown, people will be more energised than before as they realise how much they have missed or rely upon social and community support for their health and well-being.
"When we are able to meet up again, the five communities can begin to build back their voluntary organisations and clubs, or maybe start up a new venture (the Committee accepts costed business plans!)."
The next deadline for receipt of project proposals is July 31, 2021.