KEY funding from the community fund linked to Banks Renewables Kype Muir wind farm has enabled a local community group to install an inscribed flower planter to mark the boundary of a South Lanarkshire village.
Sandford in Bloom, a volunteer community gardening group which strives to maintain the green spaces in Sandford has been awarded a community grant of £1,750 to install a large flower planter with an inscription saying ‘Welcome to Sandford’, and to replace a damaged bench at local beauty spot, Spectaclee Falls.
The planter has been placed at the top entrance to the village, beside Sandford’s new housing development. The group hopes the new planter will enable new residents to feel more included within the village boundaries, while providing a visual alert for any incoming motorists to slow down.
Sandford in Bloom falls under the branch organisation of Sandford Community Ethos Group (SCEG), which works to foster community spirit within the village of Sandford through social events and community projects which fall outside the remit of the local Community Council.
All applications to the Kype Muir community fund grants are determined by the Kype Muir Community Panel (KMCP), which has representatives from local community councils and the wind farm operators, Banks Renewables.
Trish Munro, Sandford in Bloom volunteer, believes the planter will help to make the community a more inclusive space.
She said: “The idea for an inscribed planter had been in the pipeline for some time now, so it’s fantastic that it’s finally in place.
“With our new housing development on the village boundary, we’re hoping it’ll encourage residents to feel a part of the community. It has the added benefit of being a lovely asset to the community, while also giving motorists a signal to slow down as they enter the village.”
The Kype Muir Community Fund provides £138,000 annually to benefit community groups within 10 kilometres of the 26-turbine development. Funding started in April 2019 when the wind farm started to generate clean, green electricity.
The idea for the planter and bench stemmed from Sandford’s Community Led Action plan, which was developed by the Community Council and Community Action Lanarkshire, shaped by a local survey.
Trish added: “The Action Plan has highlighted various local improvements and projects which the Community Council are keen to take forward and/or support other local groups to develop.
“Inclusion and improving access are two of these ideas.
“The new planter proposal comes under the ‘inclusion’ theme of the Action Plan and the new bench under ‘improving access’ as it is placed at the top of a particularly steep stairway at our local beauty spot, Spectaclee Falls, for walkers to relax and recover!”
Banks Renewables is committed to ensuring the surrounding area benefits most from the wind farm. Its Connect2Renewables partnership with South Lanarkshire Communities is a broad pledge that also saw it commit to use local contractors throughout the construction of the Kype Muir Wind Farm.
The Community Fund accounts for around a quarter of annual funding arising from the wind farm. Around half goes towards establishing an employability and training fund, distributed by South Lanarkshire Council, with a further quarter also distributed by the council as part of the wider Renewable Energy Fund (REF).
Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager with the Hamilton-based Banks Group, said: “Creating a wider sense of community and inclusivity is integral to the dynamic of villages like Sandford – we’re thrilled to be able to contribute to the community in this way.”
SCEG works alongside the Community Council to benefit the residents of Sandford. The group is responsible for the running and general upkeep of the town hall as well as many of the social events that occur on an annual basis including the Village Sports Day, Halloween party and the Nativity Concert.
Banks Renewables is committed to ensuring that their projects deliver tangible and lasting social, economic and environmental benefits to the communities in which they operate.
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