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Funding celebrates innovation and sustainability across Aberdeenshire

By David Porter

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The recipients of more than £124,000 funding have been announced this week, with a total of 12 community groups across the north-east celebrating successful applications to the Vattenfall Unlock Our Future Fund.

Chairman Hamish Vernal welcomed the funding announcement to groups across the north-east.
Chairman Hamish Vernal welcomed the funding announcement to groups across the north-east.

Now in its second year of grant making, the Fund aims to support community projects across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire which are innovative, environmentally sustainable and provide a legacy for their local community.

The Unlock Our Future Fund is provided by Vattenfall, the owner of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off the coast of Aberdeen and invests up to £150,000 in community benefit funds every year until at least 2039.

The Fund is then administered by the charity Foundation Scotland whose fund co-ordinator Bea Jefferson said: “We were delighted to see such a huge variety of projects submit applications this year.

"The Unlock Our Future Fund helps organisations large and small to make a long-lasting impact to their community and the environment in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and beyond.”

Recipients Alford District Men’s Shed were awarded £15,000 to further develop their existing renewable energy system.

This new funding will pay for solar and thermal battery storage, increasing the capacity and optimising the use of renewable energy they already generate on-site.

On the award Bill Slee, a Trustee for the Shed said: “Alford Men’s Shed support from Vattenfall’s Unlock our Future Fund will significantly help us on our journey to net zero by developing an energy system appropriate to 21st century imperatives for decarbonisation.”

Buchan Dial a Bus
Buchan Dial a Bus

Communities in north Aberdeenshire will welcome an extension to their accessible transport network after Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus received £15,000 to purchase a new seven-seater electric vehicle.

This will be used to provide free-of-charge, accessible transport to those who cannot afford public transport or have difficulty accessing public transport.

Chairman of the volunteer Dial-a-Community Bus Board Spencer Critten said: “This is fantastic news for Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus, this grant will enable us to purchase and provide ecofriendly services for the community we serve, we would not be able start this process without the generous funding grant awarded to us from Vattenfall”.

Buchan Community Farm recieved funding for a new solar installation.
Buchan Community Farm recieved funding for a new solar installation.

Located near Maud, Buchan Community Farm receive £5500 to fund a switch to renewable energy through installation of Solar PV.

SpokeswomanPameala Roberts said: ""e are delighted to have been awarded the grant for solar panels, they will be installed by a local company and the electricity they generate will be used for the needs of Buchan Community Farm only as it will be a separate supply.

"This is great for the environment and will be a big saving for our not for profit organisation."

In Tarves, the Parish Church have received £15,000 towards an new open air source heating system which will be incorporated in the redevelopment of the Tarves Youth Hall.

Improved heating systems will also be able to be installed at Newburgh Public Hall after £13,860 was donated for a new air source heat pump system.

Peterhead Sailing Club
Peterhead Sailing Club

Peterhead Sailing Club receive £13,822 for the installation of an electric car charging point, solar panels and electric batteries at their facility.

Other projects receiving funding for eco-improvements were the Aberdeen Association of Social Service (VSA), Camphill School, Aberdeen University (ProtoTAU project), Tarland Development Group and The Barn at Banchory.

In a heartfelt video congratulating all the grantees on their success Chair of the Fund Panel Hamish Vernal said: “The panel had a really tough job because there were so many excellent applications.

"Everyone should feel justifiably proud that they’ve been successful this year and we look forward to seeing the fruition of these exciting and innovative projects”

Operations and Maintenance manager at Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Alexandra Richards said: “Local community initiatives make such a huge difference to the lives of so many people.

"We’re excited to have been able to help these fantastic projects come to life through the Unlock our Future Fund.

“Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm has showcased innovation from day one, through the wind farm design, construction and operation and also through its environmental research.

"For innovative thinking to continue within the community during these challenging times is truly


Applications reopen for new funding in early 2021.

Amongst those celebrating new funding were Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) who were awarded £5500.

The money will pay for a new electric cargo bicycle to help deliver fresh food to people in Aberdeen who experience food poverty, isolation, mobility barriers and mental health issues.

Lisa Duthie, Chief Executive of CFINE, said: “The demand for CFINE’s emergency parcel delivery service increased by 300%, we are currently delivering over 1500 parcels weekly to people experiencing food insecurity.

"The electric cargo bike will be utilised to deliver essentials to families facing hardship, therefore, helping us alleviate poverty in the North East in an eco-friendly way.”


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