Westmill Solar successfully closes the first round of its community grants scheme!

Westmill Solar awards £43,000 from its first community grants scheme!

Westmill Solar Co-operative is pleased to announce that, following the launch of its pilot community grant scheme, we have approved the funding of approximately £43,000 of community grants from 13 organisations!

Initially, the intention had been to offer £30,000 but due to the number of quality applications that we received the panel were keen to increase that number. (We were able to do this as some other activities have been delayed into next year.) We were delighted with the responses we received to our first round and wish we had been able to offer even more grants. The projects that our panel of members chose were those they felt aligned best with our co-operative principles, with particular concern for community and sustainability.

A list of the successful applicants can be found below along with their intended use for the grant funds they have been awarded.

We would like to thank all applicants as well as those Westmill Solar members who nominated a particular organisation for funding. We hope to have some of the successful applicants join us at our AGM next year to discuss the impact they have been able to achieve with this funding.

We will re-open applications next year after our AGM, and hope again to see many worthy applications, especially those recommended by Westmill Solar members.

If you have any questions regarding our successful applicants or our community grant scheme then please feel free to email us at info@westmillsolar.coop.

£1,000 Highworth Warneford School‘s grant supports two types of activity at this school near the Westmill site: (1) Student Leadership activities (groups looking at aspects of school and community life) on the environment, and (2) supporting a targeted small group of students in developing practical skills in horticulture.

£744 Sustainable Shrivenham is a new Community Action Group was showing great promise and then the pandemic affected many planned activities. This grant provides seed funding to upgrade and improve their web presence and social media to help them engage effectively with their community online.

£1,000 Stonehill Community Garden is a community garden providing outdoor learning experiences for groups and individuals, and donate sustainably grown produce to needy families during the pandemic. This grant funds a 7000-litre water tank to double their rainwater harvest capacity.

£5,000 Farcycles Ltd is a charity community cycling group which organises rides and runs teaching sessions for all ages. During summer 2020 volunteers ran a “pop-up” shop recycling old bicycles and helping people get back on their bikes. This grant provides seed funding to help set up a not-for-profit shop in Faringdon.

£5,000 West Oxfordshire Community Transport Limited provide daily bus services in the outer areas of Witney and surrounding villages providing rural transport, reduce car journeys, and act as an informal community hub. This charitable community benefit society is raising funds to purchase a second-hand 16-seater minibus to replace an irreparable one.

£3,000 Aspire Oxfordshire Community Enterprise Ltd is a charitable social enterprise training Community Champions to work with groups such as ethnic minorities, refugees and social housing tenants, who are often under-represented in sustainability activities. This grant provides funds to help those groups create and implement One Planet Action Plans.

£4,390 Low Carbon West Oxford (KidsCAN) is an award-winning community organisation. This grant funds the creation of a guide for concerned adults wishing to engage with children about climate change in a safe and empowering way, and help to promote KidsCAN (Kids Climate Action Network) online materials and target them into schools and other extra-curricular groups.

£4,875 Bioregional will use these funds to support sustainability charity Bioregional working alongside Sovereign Housing Association to develop resident-led ‘One Planet’ Living™ action plans, through workshops in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire (Swindon Borough). The actions outlined will focus on reducing fossil fuel consumption and choosing more sustainable options for food, transport, etc.

£5,000 Central Swindon North Parish is a major multi-organisation project developing a new Moredon Sport and Wellbeing Hub. The Central Swindon North Parish Community Library and Leisure Trust will manage the hub and, in consortium with the Parish Council, will use this grant towards purchasing a diverse fleet of bicycles for the Learn to Ride programme.

£2,425 Oxford Farmhouse CIC is a community-focussed organisation collecting apples from gardens across Oxfordshire that would otherwise rot, and produces apple juice, working with community groups for apple pressing and teaching associated skills. Regulations mean that currently they cannot accept returned bottles to re-use. This grant funds purchase of a new bottler and bottle-washer so that they can.

£1,000 Hill End Outdoor Education Centre is a charity in Farmoor providing outdoor education (day visits and residential) for schools, adult training for teachers and the public, and facilities for charities. Following an energy audit, this grant funds insulation in the shower block to reduce heating fuel use and improve the visitor experience in colder months.

£5,000 The Kitchen Garden People operate as a Community Supported Agriculture organisation, growing food for specific households who receive a weekly share of the produce so there is no waste, providing volunteer training and running school visits. This grant contributes to purchase of an additional community polytunnel as part of an expansion to double the membership from 85 to 170 families.

£5,000 Community Energy England represents, supports and advocates for the community energy sector in England. This grant funds a project to research and gather data about the reach and impact of community energy organisations among communities of place (where the projects are located) and communities of interest (networks of supporters and members who may be further afield).


  1. Rick AUNGIERS-Reply
    7th December 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Great to see that many of these projects aim to empower and facilitate sustainability and recycling. Well done

  2. Cynthia Napper-Reply
    7th December 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Great choices, very accessible to groups working at ground level.

  3. Joe Norman-Reply
    7th December 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Strong choices. Well done.

  4. Lee Gordon-Reply
    7th December 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Great to see so many worthy causes in the environmental and sustainable sector getting a helping hand.
    Westmill’s admirable generosity is wonderful to see.

  5. H Trivedi-Reply
    8th December 2020 at 7:35 am

    Great work and thanks for the detailed list with links as I will research each entry and consider donating to them.


  6. Jennifer-Reply
    8th December 2020 at 9:52 am

    What a wonderful list of grants to help community action. I’m proud to have
    made a small investment in Westmill Solar co-op

  7. Iago-Reply
    8th December 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Marvellous to see such a range of projects across age, education and functional sectors getting just enough to get them started, or maintaining or extending initiatives. Let’s see lots more of this.

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