Old Luce Community Trust was launched on June 23rd at Glen Luce Hall.
This ground-breaking Trust will distribute 5 ‘live’ community benefit funds from four developers – GDF SUEZ ( Barlockhart Moor wind farm), Carscreugh Renewable Energy (John Laing), AES North Rhins and SSE channelling their funds through the Trust, which will be managed by Foundation Scotland.
The initial value of the fund is £50,000 but is set to rise to over £60,000.
This is with the agreement from Dumfries and Galloway Council that the Old Luce share of two SSE funds (Artfield Fell and Balmurrie Fell) currently administered by them will come through the Trust from next year.
With an additional three funds in the pipeline from consented sites, the community is hopeful that these developers will channel their funds through the Trust as well. More on this story next week.
Old Luce Community Council commissioned Foundation Scotland to set up the Trust due to the pressure on volunteer community representatives to manage an increasing workload. The community council were keen to engage professional help with administering the money and create a new local structure for decision-making as Community Council meetings were not an ideal forum.
Fred Murray, Chair of Old Luce Community Council explained, “The Community Council has been managing community benefit funds for a few years now, but by next year will be working with at least eight separate funds, which is a fantastic opportunity for the area but also a challenge in terms of the workload on volunteer community representatives. We felt our current system was creaking at the seams and it was time to get some paid professional expertise to set up a local structure. This would allow us to put all of the community benefits funds under one roof. It will also give local groups seeking funds one point of contact and a single grant-making process for applications, assessments, awards and monitoring.”
Over the next year, the Trustees and Community Council intend to undertake a community consultation to determine the needs and aspirations of people in the area and identify opportunities for commissioning new projects and services where they are needed.
On the night, Drew Sloan, Acting Chair, Old Luce Community Trust thanked the developers for agreeing to their funds being distributed through the Trust. He said, “Without their commitment none of this would have been possible. I am very excited about the potential this fund offers our communities and delighted to announce that the Old Luce’s share of Balmurrie & Artfield Fell funds will also come under the umbrella of the Trust thanks to SSE and Dumfries and Galloway Council. “
“We have a duty to ensure a legacy for our community so that future generations will be able to continue to benefit from this investment. This is a great window of opportunity to make a really big difference for the long-term.”
Steve Salt, Planning & Public Affairs Director, West Coast Energy Ltd ( who are now part of the GDF SUEZ group) added, “ We are very pleased that the community funds arising from the generation of locally produced renewable energy at Barlockhart Moor wind farm are going to be administered by Foundation Scotland for the benefit of the local community. Foundation Scotland has a great track record in helping communities to make wise investment decisions and GDF SUEZ and West Coast Energy look forward to working with the Trustees and Foundation Scotland to ensure that the fund provides maximum long lasting environmental, social and economic benefit to the locality.”
Cara Gillespie, Foundation Scotland’s Community Investment Executive said, “What we have achieved with the local community is quite ground-breaking and we are encouraged by the foresight and commitment of the local community and developers to make this happen. The creation of this single Trust for Old Luce will enable the community to be strategic and we welcome the news they are to undertake a community consultation to ensure future investment has lasting impact for the residents of Glenluce, Dunragit and Auchenmalg.”