There was the sweet smell of success for Glyncorrwg based Afan Vale Chocolates last week. Along with 35 other small businesses and charities, the chocolate factory received the first awards from Vattenfall’s Pen y Cymoedd wind farm fund, managed by an independent Community Interest Company (CIC). The fund was set up to benefit people living in four valleys close to the wind farm site in south Wales.
Afan Vale Chocolates will receive more than GBP 3,000 to support the purchase of essential machinery to grow its business and potentially expand its workforce.
Anita Angove of Afan Vale Chocolates was delighted with the award. "We are a small business barely keeping up with the rapidly growing demand for our produce – being able to buy our new machine will free up time for marketing and promotion and will really help our business to grow," she said.
In this first round, grants of up to GBP 5,000 have been handed out, in total more than GBP 127, 000. More funding rounds are to follow, and later this month, grants over GBP 5,000 each will be handed out. In total, Vattenfall’s Pen y Cymoedd fund will pay GBP 1.8 million per year for the lifetime of the wind farm, targeted at local development in the area.
Musical and astronomy also among the beneficiaries
Other organisations to benefit in the first round include the Showcase Siogerdd Performing Arts Association, which receives support a for a young people's production of the musical South Pacific, and Dark Sky Wales Sidewalk Astronomy project, a programme of innovative street-based astronomy activities for young people.
Marc Phillips, Chair of the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund CIC, says: "It’s been a brilliant start for us. There was a huge response to this first funding round – competition was very strong and the assessment panel had challenging decisions to make. We are delighted to be supporting these 36 amazing and wide-ranging projects across the fund area. We’re looking forward now to help many more ambitious and creative projects over the next 20 years, which is the estimated lifetime of the wind farm."
Piers Guy, the UK Country Manager for Vattenfall, said: "Vattenfall has been developing Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm for a while and all along we have talked about how the money we will give to the Community Fund every year can benefit the people in this part of Wales. I really have to commend the Community Fund for making such a strong start with these 36 awards, it’s very exciting."
Vattenfall’s Pen y Cymoedd wind farm has 76 turbines and is almost completed. When finished it will be Wales’s largest onshore wind farm.