Press Release                                                                                      no embargo

Community Strand of the West Midlands Low Carbon Economy Programme

Up to £40,000 of in-kind funding has recently been won by local Midlands-based organisations Marches Energy Agency and Localise West Midlands to help community renewables schemes.

The in-kind funding will be made available to help community groups and third sector organisations develop community owned renewable technology and sustainable energy projects.  £30,000 of this has been allocated for up to 12 community groups across the region to provide them with packages of support tailored to their specific needs.  £10,000 is allocated to train a pool of 40 mentors capable of helping further groups and communities develop locally owned and generated energy projects.

Talking about this exciting project Simon Ross from Marches Energy Agency said “This is a great opportunity to help community groups develop their plans for community energy generation.  With the funding we have we will be able to provide between 5-10 days per community of the best tailored support possible.  With our plans for mentor training we will be able to carry that message much further and so help accelerate the move to a low carbon economy.”

Coupled with Government incentives that pay community groups to generate electricity this project has the potential to help communities earn tens of thousands of pounds each year.  This could provide a guaranteed  income stream for re-investment in that community to help reduce fuel bills, generate local jobs and reduce CO2 emissions.  Applications from community groups and third sector organisations are warmly encouraged  and are due by the deadline of 5pm on Monday 25th July.

For more information about applying for a tailored support package, please contact Simon Ross simon@mea.org.uk 01743 277106.

To express an interest in becoming a mentor or to suggest a mentor candidate please contact Phil Beardmore philbeardmore@virginmedia.com 07791 839025.

To find out more about the West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme, please contact Fran Gilbert fran.gilbert@swm.org.uk 0121 237 5890.

Notes for the Editor

Local authorities and their partners are facing unprecedented cost savings measures, rising energy bills and taxes, and shrinking public sector employment, while also trying to capitalise on the emerging opportunities from the low carbon economy.  The West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme aims to help West Midlands authorities use the low carbon agenda to achieve cost reduction and private and third sector low carbon job creationImprovement and Efficiency West Midlands has allocated £500,000 from the Climate Change Skills Fund from the Department of Communities and Local Government to deliver the West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme. Sustainability West Midlands is co-ordinating the delivery of the Programme on behalf of Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands, supported by partners including the Environment Agency, Energy Saving Trust and Carbon Trust. The programme includes a Community Strand, which is being delivered by our partners Marches Energy Agency and Localise West Midlands, and it’s this strand that forms the basis of this press release.

11th July 2011