A’Chruach

Operation Since June 2016
Postcode --
Local Authority Area Argyll & Bute
Technology Onshore Wind
Installed Capacity 42.60Mw

About the Developer

Name of renewable energy project A’Chruach Wind Farm
Community benefit fund Ventient Energy A’Cruach Community Fund
Project owner(s) Ventient Energy
Project developer Infinis Energy Plc
Contact name Ventient Energy
Contact telephone 0131 243 2390
Contact email operations@ventientenergy.com
Address Ventient Energy 1st Floor 50 Frederick Street Edinburgh
EH2 1EX

About The Community Benefit Package

Please detail any voluntary benefits to the community from the development other than recurring annual fund:
N/A.

Please explain the monetary equivalent of the above benefit(s) and how the figure has been calculated:
N/A.

Who are the beneficiary community / communities (those that make up the fund ‘area of benefit’):
West Loch Fyne, Dunadd, and Lochgilphead.

How was the boundary of the beneficiary community/communities identified:
West Loch Fyne and Dunadd are two beneficiary communities based on the turbines being located in their community council areas. Lochgilphead is also included as a beneficiary community in recognition of its role as a key service centre to those communities.

Community benefit structure:

  • Payment: per MW installed

Additional arrangement:
£3,500 per MW x 43MW provides for an annual base fund of £150,000 per year.

Please confirm the value of your community benefit package as an equivalent rate of payment per MW per year:
£3500.00 per MW per year
Is this index-linked?
Yes

Fund Set-Up Process

What information was provided to make it clear that contributing to community benefit discussions does not affect an individual’s right to express a view on the development: No
What factors did you consider when identifying the most appropriate individuals and groups to involve in the consultation process on the community benefit package: The Developer approached the Community Councils and were reliant on Community Councils putting forward individuals to contribute to discussions.
Did you provide a clear point of contact for the community from the outset of the process: No
Do you have a written agreement with a local body in relation to the community benefit package, e.g. community council, development trust, or local authority: Yes
If yes, please name the body: Memorandums of Understanding are in place between Foundation Scotland and each community council. A’Chruach Wind Farm Limited has an Agreement in place with Foundation Scotland.
What communication channels did you use to provide feedback and maintain open dialogue with the community during the set-up phase? Please provide details, for example frequency of meetings, who you met with, newsletters, etc: A Fund Steering Group was established specifically to enable the communities to work together on a comprehensive action planning process, establish a Community Panel, and develop a Fund Framework. The action planning work was a critical way to build awareness and understanding of the forthcoming Fund opportunity but also to engage communities in a critical conversation about short, medium and longer term plans. In terms of local consultations, the following activities were carried out: • Meetings with the local steering group resulting in local press articles. • Three community open events (January 2016). • Online questionnaire made available to local residents and groups, promotion through the local press and door-to-door delivery by some Panel members. • Hard Copy questionnaires available at various outlets in the Lochgilphead area. • Three further community open meetings to prioritise emerging themes (11th & 12th March 2016). • In total 241 people attended community open events; 389 were represented in survey responses (online and hard copy)
Did the community request support during the fund set up phase: Yes
If yes, were they provided with that support? Please give details of who provided that support: Foundation Scotland was responsible for the initial set up of the community benefit fund and the recruitment and induction of the representative panel. The Community Action Planning was commissioned through a CARES Start-up grant.
Have aims or priorities been determined for the Fund: Yes
If yes, please state what they are: The overall purpose of the A’Chruach Community Fund is to support positive change by investing in a wide range of inspirational, community-led activity in the Fund area that is strategic, positive and creative and helps create a legacy of lasting impact. Within this broad purpose, the Fund will support charitable activity that addresses the following strategic priorities: • Rural regeneration though increasing opportunities for enterprise and vocational training • Enhance infrastructure including affordable housing, transport, broadband, community-owned property and access routes. • Establish new community services and seek to improve or expand existing services, particularly with regard to young people and the elderly. • Develop and improve community facilities • Enhancing leisure facilities and to develop and expand tourism and leisure opportunities. • Capacity building for new and existing community organisations to help achieve the other priorities. Beyond these six strategic priorities, the Fund will also require applicants to consider the following issues in an appropriate and proportionate way relative to their project. It is recognised that they may not all be relevant. However where they can be integrated into project planning/ activity it is likely that the impact of investment from the Fund will be enhanced or increased, in keeping with the aspirations expressed in the Community Action Plan process of creating “a legacy of community sustainability”.
If yes, please state how you reached agreement on these with the community: Based on the findings of an extensive community engagement programme, Community Action Plans were created. These informed the six broad themes for the Community Benefit Fund. The engagement and action planning process was funded by CARES.
Community benefits were kept separate from planning process No
The Developer reminded representatives of this at community council meetings they attended.
A range of factors and the local context was used to identify appropriate individuals and groups for consultation: No
The Developer approached the Community Councils and were reliant on Community Councils putting forward individuals to contribute to discussions.
Yes although staff changes within the Developer team meant contact between them and the community was erratic.

Governance & Administration

Please give details of the process for awarding funds to eligible causes / initiatives: Funds are available via three levels of awards: • Micro grants up to £250 for individuals and £500 for non-constituted groups- 10% • Standard grants of £500 - £25,000 • Large grants over £25,000 Micro-grants are administered directly by the three Community Councils. Applications are by letter or basic application form depending on what each Community Council decides to be most suitable. Each Community Council reports to the Community Panel annually on distribution of these awards and then receives its next allocation once this is received, subject to final approval by the Panel. Standard grants are applied for through a common Application Form. Large grants involve a two stage application process with the applicant firstly submitting an Enquiry which is considered by the Panel. The Panel make a decision whether to invite a full application which is then fully assessed and considered by the Panel. To be eligible to apply, applicants are expected to: • Have a constitution (governing document or set of rules) and be set up on a not-for-profit basis. • Provide latest set of accounts signed by an independent / third party. Whilst there was a defined need in the Consultation to support business and enterprise development this will be restricted initially to business activity developed or managed by community based organisations with a legal structure that ensures that any surplus is invested in community activity.
Please outline the distribution method:
  • Open grants programmes
  • Mico-grants
What is the frequency of award making: Two or three grant-making rounds are operating in each year during the Fund’s first three years. This may be subject to change thereafter. In setting the number of rounds, the Panel will take into consideration the amount of funds available each year, likely interest in the Fund and capacity of the Panel to undertake the work required to consider applications. The Panel meet approximately 8 weeks after a deadline to make decisions on awards.
How did you ensure there was an appropriate governance and administration process in place to handle the funds? Please give details of any support you provided to ensure these were in place: A’Cruach Wind Farm Limited contract Foundation Scotland to hold the funds under their charitable governance and supports the communities in deciding on distribution arrangements and award making. The Foundation is an independent charity with expertise in working with communities to make awards and manage community funds. The Foundation manages community benefit funds from renewable energy projects. The application process, grant administration, Fund reporting and review are all supported by Foundation Scotland with award decisions recommended by local Panel.
Who administers the fund? (Who holds the fund and makes payments to local causes?): Foundation Scotland administers the Fund but administration for the micro-grants is devolved to each Community Council.
Is this a third party: Yes
Who makes decisions on which causes receive funds? If this is a local group (e.g. Community Panel, Committee or Board) please give the name of the group, details of its make-up and how people can come on/off the group: The A’Churach Community Panel. The Panel is comprised of nine volunteer representatives, three from each area (a serving Community Councillor and two other residents from that area). Members serve for a period of 2-4 years before being replaced. The Panel is bound by a Terms of Reference that is kept under Review by Foundation Scotland, the Community Councils and the Panel.
Who is eligible to receive funds:
  • Constituted non-profit groups
  • Un-constituted non-profit groups
  • Individuals
If Other, please specify:
Please state which of the following are made public:
  • Minutes of award making meetings
  • Annual reports
  • Details of awards made
  • Financial statements
  • Details of project achievements
If these are available online, please provide a link to the relevant website: https://www.foundationscotland.org.uk/programmes/a-chruach/

Monitoring & Review

What processes is in place to ensure the impact of individual awards and the fund as a whole are measured: All awardees submit a completion report that provides information on their project’s outcomes and achievements. Multi-year projects provide annual reports as a minimum. The information from these reports is presented to the Panel at their meetings and features in Fund annual reports (see below).
Do you receive an annual report on fund spend or, if you are the fund administrator, do you produce one: Yes, an annual report is produced and made available on the Fund website and sent to the project owner and each Community Council. The report covers fund spend, impact achieved, promotional activities and fund balance.
How do you encourage a regular review of the fund spend, priorities, administration and governance processes: Based around the draft annual report (above), Foundation Scotland works with the Panel to conduct an annual review of each of these aspects of the Fund at one of their meetings. Proposed changes to Fund promotion, priorities, distribution methods, administration and other aspects of Fund management can be made and taken forward thereafter.

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