Applications are open for you to tap into a multi-million pound fund from Frodsham Wind Farm.
The £3m Marshes Community Benefit Fund (MCBF) could provide a much-needed boost for businesses, charities, community groups and schools.
It could also supply the money for exciting new not-for-profit projects and ideas.
A panel of representatives from the local community have been selected to decide which bids get a share of the pot.
The £3m equals £120,000 set aside each year for the 25 years the wind farm will be running to offset its impact.
Developers Peel Energy ‘launched’ the MCBF at an open evening at Helsby High School on November 22.
Frodsham Wind Farm director Muir Miller said: “The establishment of the MCBF is a milestone and marks the culmination of a process that has involved local residents and representatives from the outset.
“We are delighted Frodsham Wind Farm will be contributing to numerous worthy community projects, ensuring those selected get the much-needed investment, certainty of delivery and help required to support initiatives which are important to the local community.”
Two main factors will be used to select the successful projects – the ‘social, economic and environmental’ benefits it would have once finished as well as the level of community support the bid has.
Frodsham Wind Farm is now complete with 13 turbines towering above the marshes.
It is expected to be operational by the end of the year.
The first round of applications for CBF cash will be decided on after the closing date on February 27.
Application ‘rounds’ will run twice a year finishing in February and August.
Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans said there is more to be done to ensure the fund is spent in the best way possible.
He said: “As Frodsham residents will be aware, I was a vocal campaigner against this wind farm when it was proposed.
“However, I have recently sought a meeting with Peel to discuss this situation and will be meeting Peel representatives for a briefing on their CBF and its administration.”
Peel conducted a survey into how the CBF should be spent, but it only received 432 replies out of a population of 18,000 in the Weaver Valley.
More than 80% of respondents defined ‘the local community’ as Elton, Frodsham, Hapsford, Helsby and Ince, with 78% believing the money should be spent within this area only.
Only 14.9% saw paying more than £100,000 to big projects as a good option, with the majority opting for a mixed approach funding one large and five smaller schemes.
Frodsham Wind Farm has advised those wishing to apply to find details on the MCBF website here.
What do you think of this story? What would you use the fund for? Let us know in the comments below.