A COMMUNITY benefit fund is set to grant nearly £150,000 annually to schemes near a newly built windfarm.

Brenig Windfarm Ltd launched the fund worth almost £4million over a 25-year period for community schemes and projects such as rural transport services, sports clubs and improved broadband connection.

The 16 turbines near Llyn Brenig, south of Denbigh, were brought into operation in March and generate a total capacity of 37.6MW a year for the National Grid – enough to power 6,000 homes.

The windfarm was funded by Chinese energy firm CGNEE, which contracted Jones Bros Construction to upgrade 6 kilometres of existing access roads and set up crane pads. The Ruthin construction firm then built turbine pours, cabling networks and a control building so that the giant wind turbines could be installed.

Community benefit funds are often used to compensate for the impact of such works on nearby residents. Brenig Windfarm Ltd appointed Cadwyn Clwyd, the rural development agency from Corwen, to administer its fund in grants of £10,000 or £50,000 to communities within a 15-kilometre radius of the site.

Lowri Owain, Cadwyn Clwyd company manager, said: “We consulted with the local community at the end of last year to hear their ideas on how the fund should be spent and which areas should benefit from the fund, and developed the grant criteria based on the communities’ views.

“The fund is flexible and can support projects such as community transport, access to services, support for community social activities, digital inclusion such as broadband coverage, developing and supporting social enterprises for example a community shop or community pub, community led tourism projects, sports clubs and recreational activities and so on.”

Brenig Windfarm is part of the bigger Clocaenog Forest project where wind turbines are being installed alongside an additional community benefit fund.

Eryl Williams, county councillor for Derwen, Betws Gwerfil Goch and Clocaenog, said communities should “think out of the box” to make sure the funding is well spent.

He said: “It is a huge opportunity for communities in the area and decisions on the grants will be made by a grant panel of representatives from the local community.

“Potential applicants and community groups need to be prepared to think out of the box and think big and look at opportunities to work together on common projects with other groups and organisations inside the area.”

Application forms and guidance are available at the Cadwyn Clwyd website on www.cadwynclwyd.co.uk. Alternatively call 01490 340500 or email brenig@cadwynclwyd.co.uk.

Drop-in sessions for the community take place on Wednesday, September 25 from 3pm to 5.45pm, and Wednesday, October 16 from 3pm to 5.45pm.

Completed grant applications should be sent to brenig@cadwynclwyd.co.uk by the closing date of Monday, November 11.