After completing the initial application process, nine shortlisted finalists went on to not only crowdfund to bring the benefit of renewables and energy efficiency to their community, but to also compete for £10,000 worth of prize money on offer from the M&S Energy Fund for just two of the projects.
With two separate prizes up for grabs – £5,000 for the project to gain the most public support and the same for the project to crowdfund the most money – it’s needless to say that the competition was fierce, showcasing the proactive approach that local communities are having in working together on environmentally sustainable solutions.
The partnership between Crowdfunder and M&S Energy saw the nine projects raise an incredible £63k, benefitting environmentally sustainable causes happening across the whole of the UK whilst simultaneously raising awareness of ways that energy concerns can be tackled at a local level.
What’s more is that, beyond the money raised from the crowd, the competition also attracted further funding from two local authorities including Cornwall County Council and Dorset County Council who granted an additional £2,250 of extra funding, demonstrating the true potential that collaboration has in championing community entrepreneurship.
The project to raise the most money was Renewable Energy for Amersham Band’s new Bandroom, securing a whopping £14,834 from 385 supporters.
As a social and cultural hub enjoyed by all, the Amersham Brass Band has been enriching the community with concerts and other events since 1845. With the existing space due for closure, this project became the perfect opportunity for Amersham to have a top-tier music facility and cultural resource, harnessing an Air Source Heat Pump and underfloor heating system in the new design. The new band room will ensure the continuation of this significant community hub whilst also improving the accessibility of learning music throughout the local community, especially for young people, senior citizens and those from less fortunate backgrounds.
Project owner Caroline said, “Winning one of the M&S Energy Fund prizes for Amersham Band’s Renewable Energy Project is a real boost to our Bandroom Appeal and means that, going forward, we will be able to keep our energy bills to a minimum whilst being green in the delivery of our heating. Our new Bandroom Project is progressing well and we are excited to be using Renewable Energy in our build thanks to Crowdfunder and M&S Energy Fund; building a new music hub for Amersham and the surrounding area, providing the opportunity for the community to join in and make music together.”
The project to acquire the most supporters was School Wasteland to Wonderland Project, raising £7,544 from an impressive 523 supporters.
The transformation of Wickhambreaux School’s unused outdoor space will create a safe, quiet place for calmness and creativity, away from the hustle and bustle of the schools only existing play area that is used as a football court, making it unsuitable for younger children to play on. The construction of an Eco-Hub equipped with a wind-turbine and solar panel will make an inspiring outdoor classroom and will also introduce Wickhambreaux’s next generation of aspiring young scientists to the wonders and tremendous potential of sustainable energy.
Project owner Chloe said, “Our project was aimed at getting all the children in the school closer to nature and learning about the environment and in particular, renewable energy. Having won the £5,000 from M&S Energy, we have been able to develop our ideas further to include a sustainable greenhouse, a weather station and even a water transporter based on Ancient Egyptian methods. All this will help expand teaching to include topics not often taught at school, alongside fun and physical activity.”
If you and your community are working on bringing the benefit of renewables and energy efficiency to your area, then it could be you in the winning spot next year.