AC Fund

Auchenblae Community Fund

A Short Form Application, with a funding limit of £1000

A Long Form Application, funding applications over £1000

The closing date for applications is August 31st

Mid Hill Wind Farm

On behalf of Fred Olsen Renewables, Mid Hill Wind Limited (MHWL), the operator of the Mid Hill Wind Farm, has kindly set up a community benefit fund which contributes to the four neighbouring communities near to which it operates. These communities are:

  • Auchenblae & District Community Association
  • Crathes, Drumoak and Durris Community Council
  • Feughdee West Community Council
  • Glenbervie & District Community Association (SCIO)

The fund available was initially £1000 per installed megawatt (MW), per annum, index linked to inflation. The wind farm has a generating capacity of 50MW in Phase 1, rising to 68MW .

The annual fund is split amongst the four community organisations, as determined by MHWL. The allocation to the Auchenblae Community is in excess of £29,000, available annually to support selected community projects. The other three organisations each manage their own funds. This total amount available each year rises to account for inflation.

About the Auchenblae Community Association Community Fund

The Auchenblae Community Fund has been established by a sub group of the Auchenblae Community Association to distribute the Mid Hill community benefit within the Auchenblae electoral ward. The Auchenblae Community Fund will collect annual applications from local organisations who seek funding to assist with enterprises for the benefit of the Auchenblae community.

Recommendations on applications will be made by the Auchenblae Community Fund Panel. The panel then passes details of the applications to Natural Power, a subsidiary of Fred Olsen Renewables, provided they are in agreement they will approve and distribute funds in accordance with the decisions of the association. The process from application to successful applicants receiving funds takes approximately 6 months.

Funding Guidelines

Funding from the Auchenblae Community Fund is available to projects within Auchenblae and its surrounding area for the benefit of its inhabitants. These Guidelines have been produced to assist those who are applying for such funding.

Geographical boundary

The community benefit fund is open to applications from groups and for projects which benefit communities within the current Auchenblae electoral ward (at the time of application).

What projects are eligible to apply to the fund?

To apply for funding, community groups or organisations must be properly constituted. You do not need to be a registered charity to apply for a grant but you must be able to demonstrate community benefit. The fund welcomes applications from organisations that support the community across a range of areas:

Children and young people – projects focused on improving access to facilities, activities and services for younger members of the community.

Community buildings and amenity sites – projects which maintain and develop buildings and amenity sites being used and run by the community, especially projects which help ensure their sustainability for the future.

Community transport and communication initiatives – schemes that promote mobility of people and information in the community.

Conservation, wildlife and animal sanctuary projects – in particular those which improve the use of and access to communal land for the above purposes.

Culture and Heritage – projects that celebrate, protect and promote culture, history and heritage.

Education and skills development – group and community based programmes, particularly for those who have had no previous access to training opportunities.

The elderly – projects focused on improving access to facilities, activities and services for more senior citizens in the community.

Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability – projects to minimise energy loss, promote the use of green energy or sustain the natural and built environment.

Health – projects focused on improving access to facilities, activities and services that aim to improve the health and well-being of the local community, including through sports.

Regeneration – community projects that help to reduce crime levels, increase employment, housing or improve the physical environment.

Self-help groups – community groups that deliver services to specific sectors of the community that are in need.

Vulnerable people – projects focused on improving access to facilities, activities and services for people with disabilities, the homeless and those who are disadvantaged.

Any other project your group feels will bring benefit to the community.

What will not be funded?

The aim of the fund is to ensure that there is a real benefit to the community it serves, so the following will not be funded:

Projects outside the defined Auchenblae electoral ward, the area of benefit

Fundraising for national or regional charities unless the funds are going directly to a group or project operating in the area of benefit.

Any project the financing of which is the legal responsibility of any third party, unless explicitly agreed in writing prior to submitting your application.

Sponsorship.

Improvements to land that is not open to the general public.

Projects or activities promoting political or religious objectives.

Deficit or retrospective funding (i.e. activities that have alreadytaken place).

Any purpose that adversely affects or works against theinterests of the wind farm or the owner of the land on which the wind farm is to be constructed or the Company or any of its subsidiary or related companies

Any purpose that adversely affects or works, whether directly or indirectly, against any form of renewable energy development

Projects or activities which support an individual or individuals who are not acting on behalf of a group or organisation with the capacity to benefit the wider community.

Projects and activities likely to cause divisiveness or community disharmony.

Applications for projects made by individuals or agencies where commission or other payment is made to that individual or agency.

Applications for projects made by individuals or agencies for re- distribution to other separate individuals or agencies.

Applications to support “commercial gain”What information do you need to provide?

What information do you need to provide?

It will help your cause if you can demonstrate any or all of the following:

Need: Demonstrate a clear need for the project and what support you have from the local community. It will help if you can provide evidence of research or consultation with those who will directly benefit – tell us about it!

Community Use: Show the true extent of the proposed project or funding in terms of duration and numbers of beneficiaries.

Community Involvement: The fund would like to support projects where the community is already helping itself and where there is enthusiastic input from committed and resourceful people.

Value: You need to demonstrate value for money as well as careful and realistic budgeting, show sensible costings and provide quotes from more than one source. It will help if projects already include revenue from other sources (i.e. they are already part-funded or match funded).

Legacy: We need to know if your project has a legacy or if it requires ongoing maintenance. If that is the case, tell us about how you plan to sustain this.

How long is funding for?

Our grants are for one year and should be spent within 12 months of receipt. Applicants can apply for funding in consecutive years but should not assume that these will be successful as applications from groups that have not previously received funding may be given higher priority.

Funds not used within 12 months of award may be required to be returned to the fund and re-distributed.

What level of funding is available?

With the Mid Hill fund, there is a limit of three years community benefit that can be applied for in any one year. However, only in exceptional circumstances will funds in excess of the annual community benefit be awarded, as any such overspend will reduce funds available in subsequent years. Exceptional circumstances considered in this scenario would be a specific large legacy project that clearly benefits the majority of the community.

Applications for larger funds would be expected to benefit wider areas of the community for longer. There is no guarantee that the full amount requested in any application will be granted, so applicants should indicate whether their project can proceed with part-funding.

No match funding is currently required for applications, although it will help your application if you are able to demonstrate that additional funding has been secured or will be provided. Grants from the fund may be used as match funding unless excluded by the managers of other matched funds.

Should the members of the 4 communities covered by the Mid Hill fund wish to work on joint projects providing benefit to more than one area, applications for funds could be made in each of the areas that would benefit. The funding requested from each area should be proportional to the benefit to that area.

The application process

Applications will be considered annually . Copies of the application forms will be made available either in hard copy or online to interested parties. Two types of application are possible:

The closing date for applications is August 31st.

Applications can be made at anytime, therefore forms for the following year’s funding can be made from September the 1st.

You can ask for advice and guidance Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm during the application process. No advice will be given on particular details concerning applications. The advice will be limited to technical enquiries. Advice and guidance can be sought from the fund administrator by email – midhillfund@gmail.com or by phone on 07976 263606.Once your application is received, the Administrator may wish to contact the applicant so it is important that the person nominated on the form is knowledgeable about the project. The Panel will assess applications against the criteria herein and nominate projects to be

passed to Fred Olsen Renewables for funding approval. All applicants will then be notified of the decision and if successful, payment made to them.

Note – Data protection: All information included in your application made available to the Auchenblae Community Fund Panel will be passed to Fred Olsen Renewables to allow your application to be assessed. In the event you appeal the result of your application, all information included in your application will be made available to the selected reviewers.

How will funding decisions be made?

An  Auchenblae Community Fund Panel will assess the applications, consider the benefit offered by each application, the level of funding required and make recommendations on the awarding of funds to Fred Olsen Renewables.

The objective is that the decision process will be fair, transparent and without bias. We will consider all applications equally, hence panel members will not be able to vote for or directly influence applications for which they have a direct vested interest during the decision process.

The Panel will assess applications against the criteria herein. All applicants will then be notified of the decision and if successful, payment made to them.

Note – Data protection: All information included in your application made available to the Auchenblae Community Fund Panel will be passed to Fred Olsen Renewables to allow your application to be assessed.

Who sits on the Auchenblae Community Fund Panel?

The Panel consists of members of our local community who are either already involved in Community Groups, and/or who have an interest and keen desire to support the development of our local community.

Individuals wishing to sit on the Panel should be nominated and seconded with notification sent to the Fund Administrator by 31st July.

Groups should only nominate one person from their group onto the Panel.

Should more than seven nominations for panel members be received, names will be drawn out of the hat.

Panel members cannot sit on the Panel for more than three consecutive years.

A chairman of the Panel will be selected by the Panel once its members have been appointed.  It is the Chairman’s responsibility to ensure the decision making process is structured and fair.

Panel members who have a vested interest in a Community Group’s application (e.g. they will directly benefit from the application, or they sit on the committee of the group, or they have had any involvement in a particular application) will not be permitted to vote or influence the decision making process.  Declarations of vested interest should be made during the nomination and before the Panel meets.

Panel members will be expected to keep all information contained on applications confidential.  Failure to maintain confidentiality will result in individuals being withheld from future panel member nominations.  Any communication concerning the Panel and the decision making process will be carried out by the Fund Administrator following the annual review meeting.

What do I need to include with my application?

As well as the appropriate completed application form, you will be asked to provide:

  • Constitution – A signed copy of your organisation’s governing document, constitution or memorandum and articles of association. In the case of a Short Form application this could be a simple set of rules and the project description. Your organisation should operate with regard to equal opportunities best practice and this should be reflected in your constitution.
  • Accounts – A copy of your organisation’s most recent accounts. If you have been running for over one year, we would expect to see a full set of accounts showing a breakdown of your annual income, expenditure and carry-forward balance. If you are a new group (less than twelve months old), a recent bank statement plus an annual budget/cash flow forecast showing estimated income and expenditure is acceptable. These documents should be signed by your treasurer. If your organisation doesn’t have a bank account please provide a description of your banking arrangements.• Child Protection – A copy of your child protection policy. If your organisation works with children or young people (under19 years), or the activity you are applying for will involve working with children or young people, you will need to provide a copy of your child protection policy. If you do not have such a policy, your local Council for Voluntary Service may be able to assist.
  • Permissions – if your project requires a land owner’s or landlord’s permission, you should produce a letter from them to that effect. You should also provide documentation to show that planning permission has been obtained and is still valid, if required.
  • Plans and photographs – if your project involves an element of development, you should provide a location plan, photographs of the site as it is and plans/sketches showing what is proposed.
  • Costs, Quotes and Value for money – you should provide evidence to support the amount of money you’ve requested. This should demonstrate that the project provides value for money. You should supply multiple quotes where possible and the reasoning behind the selected quote, it doesn’t have to be the cheapest but you must explain the decision.
  • Independent referee – Your referee should be someone who knows about your organisation but is not on your committee, a volunteer or a user of your group. This could be a member of the clergy, a policeman, councillor or a professional who knows your group and its activities well.

What happens once a decision has been made?

Offer or refusal letters will be sent out as soon as possible after Fred Olsen Renewables make their decision. Offer letters may include details of any conditions imposed. A copy of the letter should be signed and returned to the Auchenblae Community Association before any payment can be made. You should not commit any money before you have received confirmation that your award has been approved by Fred Olsen Renewables. Should you need to request a change of use for any award made, you must submit your request in writing before committing or redirecting any funds. Refusal letters will include feedback on your application and the reason your application has been refused.

Feedback

There is no appeal process, however, there is an annual review of the whole application and decision making process held within 30 days of the distribution of the fund allocation letters to applicants.  Any feedback provided from members of the Auchenblae community involved in the process will be gratefully received.

If you have feedback on any aspect of the Auchenblae Community Fund application process please write to the Fund Administrator within 30 days of the announcement of annual awards. A review group chaired a representative of the Auchenblae Community Association sub group, including all members of the Panel, and the Fund Administrator (plus representatives of other windfarm fund panels as required) will assess any deficiencies or improvements in the process and its implementation and will be addressed prior to reviewing the next round of applications.

What are my responsibilities?

Successful applicants must report back to the Auchenblae Community Fund Panel upon completion of the project or within twelve months, whichever is sooner. An annual report on applications will be sent to the Fred Olsen Renewables. Where possible, please provide photos of your project which can be used to promote the Community Fund in future years.

It is important that projects are completed within the required timescale and that this is demonstrated using the criteria presented in your application. If this is not done, it jeopardises future funding availability for others, as well as for your organisation.

Any press references with regards to the project should refer to the funding source by stating either ‘made possible by the Auchenblae Community Fund’ or ‘part funded by the Auchenblae Community Fund’.

Who to contact?

For more information or for application forms, please contact the Auchenblae Community Fund Administrator.

Address:
Auchenblae Community Fund c/o Mearns Area Partnership 44 High Street
Laurencekirk
AB30 1AB

Tel: 07976 263606
Email: midhillfund@gmail.com

Frequently asked questions

Where else can I apply for funding?

Other wind farm funds, lottery funding, etc.

Why is the Mid Hill community benefit being administered by the Community Association?

Fred Olsen Renewables has chosen to only deal with Community Councils and Community Associations.

Why does the application process take so long?

We have to give organisations reasonable time to prepare their applications. We then need time to consider the applications and make our recommendations to Fred Olsen Renewables, who then need time to consider our recommendations and issue funds.

Will the application and selection process be reviewed?

The process will be reviewed annually.

Why do other windfarm funds distribute different amounts of money per MW?

The agreement with Natural Power ( Fred Olsen Renewables) was put in place some time ago, prior to the current £5,000 per MW guidelines.

What is the cost of applying?

Applying to the fund is free.

Can I apply as an individual?

We will only accept application from constituted groups (two or more people). This is the first step in ensuring there is wider support for a project.

How often can we apply?

You can apply each year.

Can our group submit more than one application each year?

You can submit up to three applications each year.

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