Western Power Distribution Community Chest (2010-17)
£50,000 for energy saving improvements in community buildings in Midlands, South West and South Wales
Project duration: September 2010 to September 2017
The WPD Community Chest was a grant scheme which distributed awards of up to £1,000 to communities to reduce their energy use through improvements to village halls and other community buildings. The grant was funded by Western Power Distribution and ran for five rounds between 2010 and 2017. Over 200 buildings 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!
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.”
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