Town Set To Bloom Thanks to Renewable Donation

by Laura Berry

Friday, July 26th, 2013

garden web 02A community garden in East Ayrshire has been given an opportunity to flourish thanks to the generosity of a renewable energy company.

Netherthird Community Development Group has received a £2,250 donation from Banks Renewables to provide funding for vital drainage work at the site of its new community garden.

The garden, which officially opens on June 22, will feature vegetable patches that locals can plant and grow their own produce and an outdoor classroom that will encourage children from the local school to come and learn outside.

Margaret Campbell, project co-ordinator at Netherthird Community Development Group, said: “We are so thankful for the support of Banks Renewables as the community will now have somewhere beautiful they can take pride in and use whenever they want.

“Everyone can now get involved, from toddlers with their parents to families wanting to come and grow their own flowers and vegetables. Our main aim is to try and improve the community as a whole and continue to develop the area.”

The community garden will create a space where people can spend time together and grow organic produce including turnips, cucumbers, cabbages, potatoes and chillies for their families.

 Employment

As well as helping to create a space which the community can enjoy and grow their own plants and organic vegetables, the donation from the Banks Community Fund will also allow the project to help young people into employment.

Four young trainees and a supervisor will work on the construction of the garden and as a result will learn valuable and sustainable skills which will help them find employment once the project is complete.

In an area where unemployment levels are high, news that the project will help young people on the path to employment has been welcomed.

Margaret added: “The donation from the Banks Community Fund means so much more to the local community than a garden area – it is a great opportunity for us to positively address unemployment levels in the area and work with young people and provide them with the skills which will hopefully give them a chance of employment.

“It is fantastic to see that a renewable energy business is so keen to back the local community and is working with us to create jobs and create an eco-friendly project. Their kind generosity has allowed us to improve the town’s appearance which has helped bring the entire community closer and give young unemployed people the chance to learn new skills.”

Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “We’re really pleased to support this fantastic community project. The key objectives of the project which include bringing the community together, creating a better environment and supporting young people into employment, are very much in line with the outcomes we expect to be delivered as part of the High Cumnock Wind Farm community partnership, should that project be approved.

“The enthusiasm and drive shown by Netherthird Community Development Group in successfully delivering the Community Garden shows what can be done if people are prepared to work together towards a shared vision.

“I believe our offer of a community partnership in the High Cumnock Wind Farm, creates a unique opportunity to harness the type of enthusiasm and commitment shown by Netherthird to deliver a much wider and more ambitious programme of community projects and employment initiatives over the next 25 years.”

Banks Renewables applied for permission to develop the 27.2MW High Cumnock Wind Farm in March and expect this to be determined later this year.

If approved, the community partnership offering associated with the wind farm would result in an estimated £5.5M of community funding over the life of the wind farm, based on current wind yield assessment and forecasts of future energy prices.

In addition there is expected to be a guarantee of upwards of £4M of direct investment into the Ayrshire economy through contracts with local companies during the construction and operation of the wind farm.

Banks Renewables is committed to maintaining the positive community relationships that it has developed in the area and welcomes the continued feedback and participation of the communities as the company progresses its High Cumnock Wind Farm proposals.

Banks Renewables has ensured that environmental impacts associated with the proposal have been assessed and minimised throughout the planning process and have consulted with, and taken account of views expressed by the community in respect of the wind farm proposal.

Banks Renewables is part of the Banks Group (www.banksgroup.co.uk), a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs over 400 people in the renewable energy, property and mining sectors.

Private: Laura Berry

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