Community groups, voluntary organisations and charities are being urged to apply for their share of almost £26,000 that’s available from the benefits fund linked to a surface mine on the border of Newcastle and Northumberland.
Banks Mining, part of The Banks Group, has been operating the Brenkley Lane surface mine near Dinnington since the beginning of 2010, and has so far awarded grants from the related community benefits fund worth more than £239,000 to a wide range of local projects as part of its commitment to provide positive, tangible long-term benefits from its operations.
With coaling set to finish at the site by the end of the year, the County Durham-headquartered firm is now encouraging local people and groups to bid for a share of the remaining fund, the value of which will continues to increase while production is ongoing.
Funding is primarily available to organisations in two specific areas – Newcastle City Council’s Castle Ward, which includes Dinnington, Brunswick, Hazelrigg and the Brenkley area, and the Ponteland East Ward of Northumberland County Council, which comprises Stannington, Milkhope, Blagdon and the Horton Grange area.
Projects outside these areas may also be eligible for support if it can be shown that they benefit people living within them.
The maximum size of individual grants is generally no more than £5,000, but applications for higher amounts are considered in special circumstances.
The fund is independently administered by the County Durham Community Foundation, and a funding committee including representatives from Newcastle City Council, Northumberland County Council, and Dinnington and Stannington Parish Councils meets every few months to decide how the money can best be allocated to meet local priorities.
Jeannie Raine, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Providing funding support to local good causes is central to our long-term ‘Development With Care’ approach, and we’ve been able to make a terrific difference to the work and well-being of dozens of communities in which we’ve operated over the years.
“We’re still very keen to hear from community groups and voluntary organisations in the areas surrounding the Brenkley Lane site whose work we can support and would encourage them to get their funding applications in as soon as they can.
“As well as generating funds for their respective community benefits funds and providing long-term employment and supply chain opportunities for local people and businesses, the high-quality coal and fireclay being produced at our Brenkley Lane and nearby Shotton surface mines is helping to meet the UK’s continuing need for essential minerals to supply UK industries including our steel, cement and brick manufacturers, reducing the country’s growing reliance on imported supplies and minimising greenhouse gas emissions relating to transportation.”
Community groups or voluntary organisations looking for grant funding from the Brenkley Lane wind farm community benefits fund should contact the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check whether their project is eligible.