A helping hand: Communities supporting each other through crisis

  • Posted: 11 Jun 2020

Thrive owns and operates multiple renewable energy projects across the country and the communities who host our projects are important to us. As a responsible business, we wanted to help them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Back in March, we allocated £21,000 from our voluntary Community Benefit Programme and savings made on business travel during the lockdown, to donate to local groups coming together to respond to the hardship created by the crisis. We worked with national energy charity the Centre for Sustainable Energy to administer the funds quickly and efficiently and consulted local communities on where the support would create the greatest benefit.


When the UK went into lockdown, many people’s lives changed drastically overnight. The Trussell Trust reports the need for emergency food parcels increased by 89% compared with last year, including a 107% increase in parcels given to children. It is unsurprising then that many of the suggestions from local communities was for the donations to go to foodbanks.  Run by dedicated staff and volunteers, they are often the last resort for many vulnerable people affected by the pandemic.

“The money will go towards purchasing the essential items we need to help those people that are in crisis. We have seen a dramatic increase in numbers since the coronavirus outbreak. Thousands of people have been hit extremely hard financially some will not be able to return to work as the business will no longer exist. We are here to help those people. The donation you have provided has made this possible.” Sam, Lowestoft Foodbank

Aberdeenshire North Foodbank, located close to our Auchtygills and Clayfords wind farms, received a donation from Thrive to help support their operations.

“Thank you so much! In terms of what the money will support us to do it will help us meet the increased demand we are seeing across our foodbank to provide emergency food for those experiencing food poverty. We have seen a 75% increase since lockdown of people not having enough money to buy food - we have provided 1,433 emergency food parcels, 984 to adults and 449 to children since lockdown began. We have changed our model and are now working a full delivery model so financial support also helps provide this service.” Debbie, Aberdeenshire North Foodbank.

Morcombe Bay Foodbank has also been experiencing high demand and the funds went to keeping their operations running such as electricity, rent and vehicle maintenance, something which has become even more vital as many self-isolating will be relying on food parcel deliveries.

Tackling isolation

As we all know, tragically care home residents have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. Their increased vulnerability has led to many homes shutting their doors to visitors in order to protect residents, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Technology can help alleviate these feelings by helping residents connect virtually with their loved ones no matter the distance.

Smiddybrae Activities Association is an organisation which works with Smiddybrae House, a residential care home near our Sigurd wind farm on Orkney. They fundraise to provide activities and trips for the residents and received a grant from Thrive. David, Chair of Smiddybrae Activities Association said:

“Firstly I would like to thank you again for the donation which enabled us to buy a further two iPad Pros for the Smiddybrae Residents. This has been greatly appreciated by the residents and their families and in particularly in these unprecedented times where visiting is restricted. The iPads enhance the opportunity for residents to maintain contact with their loved ones and the community. By having increased technology available the staff at Smiddybrae can continue to support the residents to engage in physical activity stimulation and inter-generational sessions. It also ensures that residents have access to allied professionals to maintain their health and wellbeing, and supports person-centred care during the pandemic.”

Supporting home learning

Home learning has been a huge change in many peoples lives since lockdown. Many parents have had to learn to juggle both working from home as well as becoming a teacher to their children. Home learning can be very challenging for parents and children alike, but Blackridge Primary School Parents Council are working to try to help. The school is located near to Drumduff wind farm in West Lothian, Scotland, a joint venture with the Scottish based renewable energy company, GreenPower. The parents’ council received a joint donation from Thrive and GreenPower to create home activity packs for every child at the school, providing ready-made ideas for stretched parents and much needed activities for bored kids. Clare from the parents’ council said:

“We cannot thank you enough for this support, as soon as we finish collating the first lot of packs, we will begin on the summer holiday baking packs. Our parents are so very grateful.”


Banner image courtesy of Morcombe Bay foodbank 

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Volunteer from Helensburgh & Lomond foodbank collecting donations
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Emma from Bristol NW foodbank orgnaising donations
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volunteers from Helensburgh & Lomond foodbank
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Resident from Smiddybrae house with their new iPad
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Operations at Aberdeenshire North foodbank