Thrive donates over £37,000 to help communities improve energy efficiency in record year for Community Benefit Programme

  • Posted: 06 Nov 2023

We’ve awarded energy efficiency grants to community buildings across the UK, in addition to energy essentials training.

We're helping communities stay warm this winter through our Community Benefit Programme, which has just awarded 10 energy efficiency grants of up to £4,500 to community centres close to our clean energy sites. We expect these community hubs will continue to act as warm and welcoming refuges for residents this year in the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis. In addition, we’re providing energy essentials training to community volunteers in order to help local people improve energy efficiency in their homes.

A record number of applications were made for round seven of our Community Benefit Programme which is run by national energy charity, Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE).

“The popularity of this programme shows how much local communities value having a local space to gather, hold events and support community clubs and projects. Through the pandemic and the energy crisis CSE has seen how important it is that these community hubs can stay open, with many of these buildings now providing a warm space for those unable to heat their homes during the coldest months. It’s rewarding to hear how such simple improvements such as installing LED lighting or adding insulation can support community groups to save money on their energy bills, reduce their carbon emissions and create a more comfortable space for their local residents to use.

With round 7 of the TRCBP now offering free energy awareness training to current and previous applicants, we hope that we can reduce the stigma associated with fuel poverty and support communities to use their knowledge to help their communities to save money and have warmer homes this winter.” – Tess Rushton, Project Officer, Centre for Sustainable Energy

In total we have awarded £37,692.89 of funding to the following 10 community centres across the UK:

  • Debenham Shed
  • Halton Community Association
  • Littleport Scout and Guide Joint Headquarters Management Committee
  • Millom Methodist Church
  • Orkney Natural History Society
  • PCC St Peters Church March
  • Peedie Kirk URC
  • Tivetshall Village Hall
  • The Groundwork South Trust Limited
  • Young Bristol

The grants will enable these community organisations to make crucial energy efficiency improvements to their buildings ahead of winter, such as roof, window and wall insulation, double glazing and LED lighting. CSE are also offering a series of webinars for these communities on topics including fuel poverty awareness and basic energy advice, community approaches to tackling fuel poverty and energy efficiency in community buildings.

“This money will go a long way in helping us to transform a rather disused part of our youth club into somewhere welcoming, engaging, and fun to be in for young people and the community. We can say a fond farewell to the very inefficient strip lights that have been languishing there for decades! I'm just grateful that people are doing the work on this. The last couple of years, hard as they've been, have opened the discussion and reduced the stigma when it comes to fuel poverty. It's so important for people to have these tools, especially when it comes to navigating the often frustrating and opaque world of bills, tariffs, metres, etc.” - Saul Lowndes Britton, Fundraising Co-ordinator and Assistant Youth Leader at Young Bristol

“We’re pleased to have extended the impact of our Community Benefit Programme even further this year, so that it now includes energy essentials training for communities engaged in the programme. In fact, we’ve already held the first of these sessions which was well attended and contained really useful tips on saving energy to reduce bills, insight on recognising fuel poverty and guidance on how to manage it.” – Adrian Warman, Head of Operations, Thrive Renewables.

Since we first started the programme in 2016, we have awarded 61 grants to 50 buildings, totalling over £190,000 nationally and saving 85 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.