VILLAGE HALL RECEIVES FUNDING TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY RESILIENCE
Slaley Commemoration Hall has received funding to help it reduce energy costs, be more resilient and provide greater support to the local community during severe weather.
Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network that powers eight million homes across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has provided £18,400 to enable the installation of battery storage to existing solar panels so the hall can continue to provide a warm space for the community without being connected to the region’s power network. The solar panel and battery system will also help lower the hall’s energy costs all year round by providing renewable power.
The funding is one of the first batch of successful applications to The Northern Powergrid Foundation, a charitable organisation that was set up following last year’s winter storms. The Foundation is focused on supporting projects that improve community energy resilience.
Slaley is a rural community which due to its isolation and altitude can be affected by snow drifts and other severe weather which can impact access in and out of the area and increase the risk of damage to the local power network. The funding from The Northern Powergrid Foundation aims to support the community so it can better support local residents if affected by severe weather in the future.
Northern Powergrid has been working with the communities worst affected by last year’s storms to get some early projects off the ground before opening the funding applications to others across its operating region early next year.
Paul Glendinning, Northern Powergrid’s Director of Policy and Markets, said: “By working with local representatives across the region we’re making sure that funding is directed to the communities that need it the most and that it ties in with their existing plans and projects. The Foundation was set up to support communities exactly like Slaley.”
Local MP, Guy Opperman, who has played a key role in supporting his community with its application and helped present the cheque to Slaley, said: “I’m delighted to see this application go ahead. This is part of a massive plan to ensure Northumberland is energy resilient and prepared for any future extreme weather events. Many other village halls and community centres are in the pipeline, and this will be the first of many.”
Stella Douglas, Lead Applicant and Treasurer of Slaley Commemoration Hall, said: “As a rural community we’re used to coming together to help each other in times of extreme weather, but Storm Arwen was an event way above the provision we had in place. We took the first step of embracing green technology but couldn’t afford to install the vital batteries which would provide the backup needed. It is fantastic that with this extra support we can now offer a safe haven to those in need.”
Community groups interested in finding out more about applying for funding from The Northern Powergrid Foundation, should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping individual customers be prepared if their power supply is ever affected by a fault on the local electricity network, severe weather damaging electrical equipment or a major energy emergency is important to Northern Powergrid.
The network operator recently launched its winter campaign to encourage anyone who may be more vulnerable, due to their medical or personal circumstances, to join its free Priority Services Membership.
Northern Powergrid is recommending people bookmark its improved website and power cut map on their mobile and add 105 – the free national power cut number - to their contacts so they know how to get information. It is also directing customers to a range of improved online advice on how to be prepared for this winter so individuals, families and businesses know what to do if their power is ever disrupted and can take action to help reduce the impact. The new ‘be prepared’ page also provides links to:
- information about Northern Powergrid’s discretionary customer welfare support for people affected by a long duration power cut,
- information on how Northern Powergrid works with local partners to support customers and inform wider regional responses in communities in escalated events, and
- Northern Powergrid’s commitment to customer service and improving the services it offers now and in the future.
Pictured left to right: Stella Douglas, Lead Applicant and Treasurer, Slaley Commemoration Hall, Ian Stevens, Chair of Slaley Parish Council, Ros Doonan, Chair of the Village Hall Committee, Paul Glendinning, Northern Powergrid's Director of Policy and Markets and Guy Opperman, MP for Tynedale and Ponteland.