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Green energy boost for Swansea Community Farm thanks to National Lottery

July 31, 2020

Swansea Community Farm is a community farm based in Fforestfach, Swansea that is focused on supporting people in the community with voluntary opportunities as a means to improve people’s health, wellbeing and mental health. Earlier this year they received a National Lottery Community Fund Green Top-Up grant of £9,900 to, with support from Renew Wales and Sustainable Communities Wales, install solar panels on their roof to improve the energy efficiency of their building.

The Green Top-Up grants a pilot in Wales that is supporting existing National Lottery projects to make small changes to their projects to tackle climate change in their communities. The Green Top-Ups pilot is part of our environmental strategy to make positive change to tackling climate change in communities. Find out more on how to reduce your environmental footprint on our website.

We spoke to Kate Gibbs from Swansea Community Farm about their grant, and how what difference it’s making to their work.

Taking care of the local environment

“We are an environmentally focused charity and the top-up grant was a great opportunity to invest in the infrastructure at the farm to make our work more environmentally-friendly. In just a couple of months that the solar panels have been active they have saved 1,310.84 kg of CO2 Emissions and generated 5.13 MWh so far, which is the equivalent of planting 60 trees.

We worked with Sustainable Communities Wales to assess how much energy we were using on the farm before implementing the changes. Their energy report was really helpful in getting staff and volunteers to change their practices. For example, we have already regained a full understanding and control of our heating system, improving the timings for efficiency. We are also looking to invest in some of the other suggested changes from the report.

Another useful part of the process was that we had designed a conservation grazing project – working in partnership with PONT and the local authority’s nature conservation team. Whilst we went with the solar project because of the short timescale of the Top-Up pilot we have since been able to pick up these discussions and are working towards grazing some animals on a local nature reserve for the future helping reduce the fire load and improving the habitat.”

Expert advice makes a difference

“The Renew Wales and Sustainable Communities workers and support that we had were great and really took on parts of the task rather than just talking about what needed doing. This was particularly helpful given the tight timescales and capacity of staff. The energy survey by Sustainable Communities is a very useful document that will shape the farm’s activities and plans for some time. Owen from Sustainable Communities Wales was fantastic to work with and was quick to answer our questions.

The capital investment from the Green Top-Up towards solar panels has been amazing and means that we can generate more clean energy and educate others about climate change. I don’t think we could have done this without the funding; we have very tight budgets and investing in capital like this would have been impossible.

We have a large number of ideas and projects that we could run in the future that could impact climate change, educate others, and improve the physical infrastructure of this community facility; it’s really important to us that we can help make these changes in our local community. Diolch!”

Swansea Community Farm received a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund of £9,900 to install solar panels and an interpretation panel for visitors. Find out more about Swansea Community Farm.

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