Life during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extraordinarily difficult for everyone, with the most vulnerable feeling the biggest effects. In response during 2020, we liaised with groups close to our operational sites and gave £39,050 to local organisations supporting the communities who host our renewable energy projects. There were two rounds of donations, £22,000 in April as the first lockdown hit and a further £17,050 in December when pressures on people are often greatest. Here, recipients tell us how our donations have supported their vital work.
Kathleen from West Lothian Foodbank, near to Drumduff wind farm, said:
“Your offer almost made me cry as I've been in the warehouse most of the afternoon organising Christmas dinner packs & then a big rush on food packs before the end of the day. Thank you so much, this is amazing. As you can imagine this is our busiest time of year & that comes with extra costs, more fuel in the vans, more electricity & gas. So this makes a massive difference that we can use the money for the core costs.”
Tarnia from Morcombe Bay Foodbank, near to Caton Moor wind farm, said:
“Morecambe Bay Foodbank are very grateful for the donation received from Thrive. We are currently delivering parcels to over 300 families per week, with demand potentially rising even further going into 2021. The donation received will go towards supporting the vulnerable in our community at this very difficult time. Ongoing support from organisations such as Thrive, will help enable us to keep dealing with the demand.”
Debbie from Aberdeenshire North Foodbank, near Auchtygills and Clayfords wind farms, said:
“We are delighted to be supported by yourselves at this time of year - we have seen over a 40% increase in demand for our service so far this year, and we are working hard, particularly at this time of year, to make sure people are as supported much as possible. We couldn't do the work we do without support from yourselves. Thank you so much.”
We donated to ten local foodbanks close to our projects. Foodbanks are often the last resort for people experiencing food insecurity and since the pandemic hit, they have a seen huge increase in demand. The Trussel Trust released an analysis last September predicting a 61% rise in need at foodbanks this winter, equating to 846,000 food parcels being given out, or six a minute. Families with children have been hit the hardest and since the beginning of the pandemic around half of people using a food bank had never needed one before.
Ashley from Ely Foodbank, close to Boardinghouse, Ransonmoor and March wind farms, said:
“We really can’t thank you enough. Your generosity has meant we continue to bring some respite to struggling families, by providing food parcels, helping those in fuel poverty, and helping people move forward from their current state of crisis.”
We also gave to the Bairnecessities Baby Bank, located near our Auchtygills and Clayfords wind farms. They operate in a similar way to a foodbank, but instead of food they distribute essential baby items to vulnerable families to tackle child poverty.
Helen from Bairnecessities said:
“Bairnecessities Baby Bank is so grateful to Thrive Renewables for their continued support during this very difficult period, in helping us to provide local families in need those vital items they are unable to afford.”
We also donated to the Smiddybrae Activities Association, an organisation which works with Smiddybrae House, a residential care home near our Sigurd wind farm on Orkney. They usually fundraise to provide activities and trips for the residents and have had to adapt to changing needs during the pandemic. David, Chairman of Smiddybrae Activities Association said:
“Thank you so much for your donation. The residents have used the iPads that were bought with the last donation a lot this year to keep in touch with their families over what has been a very difficult year for them and their families. It has been a very trying time for everyone in the care homes this year so all we can hope for is that 2021 will only get better for the residents and the wider community”
The COVID-19 hardship fund was created using money from our voluntary Community Benefit Programme and savings made on business travel. 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.