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Wind farm cash goes to local groups

Caithness Courier

More than £40,000 is being given to groups and individuals in the latest allocation of funding from a Caithness wind farm.

Two Lybster-based organisations are to share over £26,000, while seven awards totalling more than £14,000 will enable individual residents to study online during the Covid-19 pandemic in subjects ranging from primary education to biomedical science.

The awards are the latest to come from RWE Renewables’ Bad á Cheò Wind Farm Community Fund, which is managed by Foundation Scotland on behalf of local funding panels. The 26.65MW wind farm is located at Achkeepster, near the Causewaymire.

As part of the package, Caithness Community Connections will receive £20,000 over two years to deliver youth club sessions. It was established in January 2019 with the aim of running activities for people on the east coast of the county.

The other community project award is £6211 for Lybster Golf Club to address a shortfall in income due to the coronavirus crisis.

RWE says it is committed to investing in the communities around its renewables projects. In 2019, an annual community fund of £133,250 was set up for the operational lifetime of Bad á Cheò Wind Farm, expected to be around 25 years.

There are three panels that make decisions on funding and these relate to community council areas – this one being the Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Council area with its £40,000 share.

One resident who is benefiting from the education and training funding is Kieran Watts, who lives in Latheron.

He is studying BSc (Hons) Environmental Geography and Outdoor Education through the University of Stirling and the money will allow the purchase of a laptop and the necessary statistical and mapping programs software to enable online learning.

Kieran said: "Thanks to the support from the Bad á Cheò education and training fund, I am able to continue my education with minimal disruption despite current events.

"I would normally do freelance work over the summer to provide funds for my education the following year – but, as I work in the adventure tourism sector, Covid-19 restrictions have made that impossible this summer. The laptop the community fund has provided will enable me to continue studying at the level I need, while being home, and that is fantastic."

Katy Woodington, RWE Renewable UK’s community investment manager, said: "RWE is delighted with the innovative and flexible use of wind farm funding that our Bad á Cheò Wind Farm funds provide.

"It is always exciting to recognise and celebrate that the education and training fund is changing local residents’ lives by increasing their job opportunities and ability to access training opportunities. It is amazing how diverse and interesting the courses are that local people are undertaking, particularly accessing them online at this challenging time, highlighting that a funding mechanism like this is long overdue."

Foundation Scotland’s Caithness-based community co-ordinator Eilidh Coll said: "The more awards we make, hopefully people will be able to see the tangible benefits of applying for a helping hand to do a course or undertake some training. The application process is straightforward and can be used to part-fund a vast array of courses online and at learning hubs."

Deadlines for applications to the community fund will vary across the areas and can be viewed on the Foundation Scotland website.

Eilidh Coll can be contacted by email at


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