WPD Community Chest (2016)

£50,000 for energy saving improvements in community buildings in Midlands, South West and South Wales

Project duration: September 2016 ongoing

The WPD Community Chest is a grant scheme which distributes awards of up to £1,000 to communities to reduce their energy use through improvements to village halls and other community buildings.

It is funded by the network operator Western Power Distribution (WPD) and administered by CSE, and is open to groups in the Midlands, the South West and South Wales (e.g. WPD's area of operation - see the postcode checker in the Guidance and Eligibility document). 

All sorts of energy-saving improvements qualify including roof or cavity wall insulation, boiler replacement, new heating controls, double or secondary glazing, draught proofing, smart lighting, and replacing of appliances like fridges or water heaters for more energy efficient models. It can also fund water-saving equipment like new taps and showers.

This is the scheme's fifth round of funding. See below the photo for details of earlier rounds (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015) and case studies of successful applicants. WPD have made some changes this year, requiring grant recipients to hold a community event following the installation of their improvements in order to demonstrate the benefits of saving energy with the wider community.

Groups who wish to apply to the Community Chest should read the guidance carefully and complete the application form and energy survey, all downloadable below:

WPD Community Chest Guidance and Eligibility
WPD Community Chest Application Form
WPD Community Chest Energy Survey *

[* If PDF opens in your browser, save it onto your computer first before filling it in.]

Funding will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis to groups whose applications meet the terms of the scheme. The scheme will close on Wednesday 30 November 2016, or earlier if the grant pot is exhausted sooner. Questions? Contact wpdcc@cse.org.uk.

The WPD Community Chest ran for the first time in 2010-11 and was repeated in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Over 200 buildings have now benefitted from the grant including village halls, arts centres, sports clubs, learning centres and even other buildings like community shops, museum and a lobster hatchery!

Case study: Heating improvements at Greenway Centre and St Martin's Community Hall
Case study: Lighting upgrades at Trinity Centre and Whisty Community Association
Case study: Secondary glazing at Roll for the Soul and Zion Community Arts Space
Case study: High-performance thermal doors at Dyrham and Hinton village hall

In 2015, 55 community buildings received a Community Chest grant. Patchway Community Centre in South Gloucestershire was one of them. The applicant told us: “We have had the LED panels installed in our dim hall and the difference is amazing. It is as if someone has come along and cut skylights in the ceiling, the hall is now very bright and cheerful. “Of course we have two other added advantages: the total power usage has been halved, or better, and I will not have to balance precariously on the old step ladder changing tubes and starters in the old fluorescents. The money saved means we will not have to put up our room rentals this year so a great saving to all the groups who use the premises.”

The Old Post Centre in Derbyshire was able to replace three very draughty windows and the Arts Factory in Rhondda, South Wales are looking forward to a warmer winter thanks to their new combi boiler. Elsewhere Knappe Cross Community Centre in Devon will be making huge savings from installing cavity wall insulation to keep the heat in.

Another aim of the scheme is to encourage community building users to think about their energy use as a whole and to find low cost and free improvements to make as well as more expensive upgrades. Applicants are therefore required to complete a walkaround energy survey before applying to help identify where improvements can be made.

Robert of St Andrew’s Church, Whitestaunton, Somerset said: “Your grant has incentivised us to conduct an energy efficiency audit which has been most helpful. The church is the only community building in the village so we hope to bring more folk in.”

For further information contact:

Daniel Stone |