Communities head for a climate smart future

The recipients of more than £110,000 in funding have been announced this week, with a total of 17 organisations across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire celebrating successful applications to the Vattenfall Unlock Our Future Fund.

Now in its third year of grantmaking, the fund aims to support community projects across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, which are climate-smart, creative and provide a legacy for their local community.

The Unlock Our Future Fund is provided by Vattenfall, the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre owner off the coast of Aberdeen. Vattenfall is investing up to £150,000 in community benefit funds every year until at least 2039.

The fund attracts a huge variety of applications each year, with decisions on which projects receive funding made by a panel of community champions. The fund is administered by Foundation Scotland, Scotland's community foundation.

This year's awards recognise the importance of outdoor spaces, which have been vital to communities during the Covid pandemic. Among the projects funded are solar panels to power the Meldrum Amenities Improvement Group's electric vehicle used to help maintain Oldmeldrum's floral displays, low energy lighting for basketball courts in Stonehaven and sports pitches at Woodside in Aberdeen. Other successful awards were made to support initial feasibility work on a pedestrian bridge to Blackdog beach, a composting toilet for use by volunteers in a community garden in Aberdeen, and an electric motor for Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust's rescue boat in Peterhead.

Angie Fraser, the Principal of Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust said:

"This funding is terrific news. As an organisation, we are trying very hard to reduce our impact on the environment, and one of the biggest ways we can do this is reduce our carbon footprint. By swapping one of our most used rescue boats to an electric engine rather than petrol, we will reduce our carbon emissions. This funding will also give us a chance to learn and share that information with other sailing organisations. We believe we will be the first sailing organisation in Scotland to be making this transition. Thank you Vattenfall Unlock our Future Fund. This is very exciting!"

Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust starfish sailors

Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust starfish sailors

Many community buildings also received awards for improvements to improve their energy efficiency and reduce costs, helping to support essential venues for the community. These included the Gospel Hall at Fittie, Culter and District Men's Shed, Newburgh Public Hall, Port Erroll Public Hall, and a refurbished sports hall at Camphill Wellbeing Trust's Compass development.

Cheryl Croydon of the Fittie Development Trust said:

"The Trustees are delighted that on behalf of the residents of Fittie, we can 'unlock' matched funding to meet the substantial costs of major works in the community hall focusing on reducing our future energy demand. It is fantastic to learn that progress can be made, building on all the voluntary efforts of so many in Fittie who have been working towards creating a hub for neighbours old and young and every age in between.

Fittie Development Trust

Fittie Development Trust

Steven Wares, Operations and Maintenance Manager at Vattenfall said:

“Once more we see communities across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire leading the way with innovative projects that are helping to tackle climate change and shift to climate smarter living. We congratulate all the local organisations who are bringing this vision to life.”

A list of all funds allocated by the Vattenfall Unlock Our Future Fund is available on the Foundation Scotland website; applications reopen for new funding early 2022.

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