East Midlands Airport’s Community Fund celebrates its 20th birthday by backing a solar panel project at a local hospice.
The fund – which supports groups and projects in areas surrounding the airport – has awarded over £1.3m to more than 1,500 community groups, schools and charities since its launch.
The latest beneficiary is Treetops Hospice which has installed solar panels at its site in Risley, Derbyshire.
Colleen Hempson, East Midlands Airport’s Community Engagement Manager, said: “As a responsible business and neighbour, we are committed to improving the lives of people in our local communities. Whether that be by supporting children’s education, helping community groups thrive or
improving biodiversity, we are keen to make difference. Thanks to 20 years of funding community initiatives, I believe we have made a positive impact locally and will continue to do so for years to come.”
Last year, EMA’s Community Fund committee ringfenced money for charities and voluntary organisations to invest in low carbon technology. A beneficiary of this new ‘Low Carbon Fund’ is Treetops, which received a grant of £20,000 for 42 solar panels.
The specialist end-of-life care provider believes the investment will generate 13051 kWh during a typical year, with over 80% of the electricity expected to be used directly by Treetops. It will save the charity up to £2,000 every year in energy costs, equivalent to 20 nights of end-of-life nursing care for patients.
In recent years, the airport’s Community Fund has also helped fund the hospice’s contemplation courtyard where family and friends can remember loved ones.
Treetops Hospice Chief Executive, Julie Heath, said she was delighted to see the solar panels installed:
“We’re delighted that this funding is already having an impact at Treetops Hospice. Not only will it help the hospice to reduce its carbon footprint but, at current energy prices, it will also help keep costs down so that more money can be spent on the care they provide.”
“We are very committed to playing a responsible role in the local community, including developing and delivering our environmental policy. The grant from East Midlands Airport kickstarts our plans to introduce greener ways of working in the future.”
Other recent beneficiaries of the community fund include local schools who received a share of £300,000 between them to build eco-gardens creating a lasting legacy that can be enjoyed by generations of children to come. Many of the schools that received funding have started building their gardens which will substantially increase biodiversity and improve pupil wellbeing and engagement.
Following the success of this project, the Airport has made further funding available for more schools to create eco-gardens. Any school within the airport’s community fund ‘area of benefit’ can submit proposals. Funding will be awarded if the submissions meet the criteria set out in the competition.
The impact of the Community Fund is brought into focus in the airport’s annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, which details the work it has done over the past year to benefit communities and the planet as well outlining its commitment to a zero-carbon operation by 2038.