M&S Energy launches £350,000 community fund to support energy projects and technologies across the UK

LONDON, 2016-May-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — M&S Energy has today launched the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund for the second year running, with up to £350,000 available to support community energy projects and technologies across the UK.

Any not for profit organisation that wants to use renewable energy to provide community benefits can apply, whether a community energy group, sports club, library, amateur dramatic society, village hall or school – the judges are looking for innovative projects that are in-touch with the local community’s needs, whatever they may be.

Following the initial application and shortlisting process the winners will be decided by public vote giving customers and community members the opportunity to get involved with the initiative and select the project they believe will offer the greatest benefit.

Last year’s fund saw 246 applications from a wide variety of groups looking to make a difference and 132 making the shortlist! After a fierce public vote, with over 51,000 votes cast, 26 projects won funding. The projects touch communities across Britain, from the Outer Hebrides (Comunn Eachdraidh Nis Community Hub) to Cornwall (Hayle Outdoor Swimming Pool) and everywhere in between. As one of last year’s winners, Harry’s Hydrotherapy Pool in Frome, has shown how the funding can make a real difference. The organisation, which aims to relieve sickness and improve quality of life for those with sensory learning or profound multiple difficulties, used the money to install solar panels to warm its specially adapted pool and is forecasted to save up to £2,000 a year in heating bills.

Peter Gowland from Hartlepower Community Interest Company (CIC), who won £40,000 of funding to create Hartlepool’s first solar school said,“The M&S Energy Community Energy Fund initiative couldn’t have come at a better time for Hartlepool CIC. Our experience of the competition was really positive and we would like to warmly thank the company for having the vision to initiate such a scheme, which in our case inspired other schools – and not just in Hartlepool – to want to go solar!”

Jonathan Hazeldine, Head of M&S Energy said, “It’s been fantastic to see so many innovative and inspirational projects benefit from the 2015 M&S Energy Community Energy Fund. We’re excited to begin the search for more groups who can really make a difference to their local communities. As a 100% green energy provider, supporting those who share our vision of a sustainable future through renewable energy is really important to our company, our customers and our colleagues.”

Competition details

The M&S Energy Community Energy Fund will be awarded as follows:
1.Regional funding awards for projects across Great Britain that require a maximum of £12,500, determined by the public vote
2.A Judges’ Prize of £20,000 awarded to the most innovative or inspiring projects selected from those that do not win through the public vote

Applications are now open and will close on 31st May.  Applicants will be shortlisted by a panel including M&S, SSE, Energyshare and an independent judge, projects will be considered based upon their social and environmental impact and on meeting a variety of criteria, including:

  • Having a clear business case that gives value for money
  • An engaged and supportive community
  • A measurable community benefit

The public vote will open on 5th September and closes on 9th October.

Full details on how to enter are available at www.mandsenergyfund.com

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Media enquiries
Corporate Press Office, 0208 718 1919

Notes to Editors

There are estimated to be over 5000 community energy groups currently active in the UK with over 700 launching every year since 2008 (DECC Community Energy Strategy Report 2014).

About M&S Energy
M&S launched M&S Energy in 2008, working with SSE, one of the UK’s leading energy companies. M&S Energy offers customers great value gas and electricity, with simple tariffs and excellent customer service from a brand they already know and trust. Like M&S, SSE champions environmental responsibility and works hard to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy use: SSE continues to be the UK’s leading generator of electricity from renewable sources and the largest generator of electricity from wind across the UK and Ireland.
The electricity consumed by M&S Energy customers is matched by electricity that has the Renewable Electricity Guarantee of Origin (REGO). The annual consumption of electricity used by M&S Energy customers is matched with the equivalent amount of electricity generated from large scale hydro sources input to the National Grid.