M&S Energy names community fund winners

A Hereford hospice is among the projects to have won a share of the £300,000 M&S Energy Community Energy Fund.

A total of 25 projects will each receive up to £12,000 of funding from the fund for their local clean energy project.

More than 150 projects entered this year’s competition, with 21 of the winners were determined by a public vote.

The Sunshine for St Micheal’s hospice in Hereford (pictured) received 721 votes in the public vote and has been awarded £12,000.

A further four projects, considered to be the most innovative or inspiring, were chosen by a panel of expert judges, including broadcaster and Red Dwarf star, Robert Llewellyn, and former prize winner Becky Vipond from Toxeth Food Central.

The judges’ prize winners included Forest Row Community Group, whose vision is to power their community through local energy production and create an energy movement that is self-sufficient, will fund solar installations and battery storage schemes for the local area.

The hospices provide a range of services in Herefordshire and the surrounding area, to people living with a terminal illness.

They want to install solar panels onto the hospice roof, so that they can reduce energy costs.

‘Our community energy fund has grown from strength to strength over the last three years,’ said the head of M&S Energy, Jonathan Hazeldine.

‘This year for the first time ever we surpassed 100,000 public votes,’ he added. ‘For us that means there’s 100,000 people here in the UK committed to protecting our environment and creating sustainable energy solutions – what M&S Energy is all about.

‘We were bowled over by the innovation and creativity displayed by this year’s community projects. The fund is a great way for us to connect with some brilliantly innovative energy projects and reach our goal to help at least 200 communities to reduce their carbon footprint as part of Plan A 2025.’

This year, the voting process included the option to donate to any of the community energy projects via the Crowdfunding platform link on the M&S Energy fund website, which resulted in an extra £26,000 of funding.

Crowdfunder chair Rob Love added: ‘It’s fantastic to see that the quality of projects coming through the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund continue to improve year on year.

‘We were truly amazed at the level of engagement in the voting process from the public, who are clearly emotionally and physically invested in making these ideas a reality,’ he added.

‘This made the decision-making process at the judging panel tougher than ever! All of the projects are winners, and at Crowdfunder we will continue to support great community energy projects so that they too can come to life.’

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Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone

journalist

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