ECOE community fund 2023-2024 helps deliver tasty projects

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ECOE’s grant will enable LOVE Food to run cookery sessions focussed on saving energy and making affordable, healthy meals. Credit: LOVE Food CIC

Exeter Community Energy (ECOE) has awarded £9,549 in grants to four local groups to make people’s lives greener – including running sessions teaching people how to cook cheap, healthy meals using a minimum of electricity. In particular, ECOE’s community fund provides grants to groups in and near Exeter working on clean energy and fuel poverty. So, to do this, the fund draws on the income from our ten solar power sites, donations from ECOE members and surplus income from our Healthy Homes for Wellbeing project. We expect ECOE’s community fund to make over £170,000 available over the 20-year lifespan of our solar panels.

This year, ECOE received 10 applications and made awards to four groups: Exwick Community Centre, Hurly Burly Nursery, LOVE Food CIC and Pippins Community Centre.

Exwick Community Centre

The Exwick Community Association runs Exwick Community Centre to provide space to advance education, skills and social welfare of people in the area. Activities include toddler and youth groups. We awarded the Exwick Community Association £3,024 to replace defective, missing or thin loft insulation, and double the depth of the existing insulation. The insulation will enhance the comfort of centre users while using less energy, keeping them warm in the winter and reducing solar gain heating in the summer.

Hurly Burly Nursery

The second funding award went to Hurly Burly Nursery in Tiverton, which cares for children in an area with a high degree of deprivation, in a building bought from Petroc College. As part of that purchase, the College has disconnected the building’s previous gas supply. That provides an opportunity to install an efficient on-demand heating system using air-source heat pumps. We awarded the nursery £5,000 for six wi-fi controlled electric radiators and four air-source heat pumps.

LOVE Food CIC

Thirdly, we awarded funding to LOVE Food CIC, based in Ide, just outside Exeter. The grant will enable LOVE Food to run cookery sessions focussed on saving energy. Also the sessions will cover making affordable, easy, healthy plant-based meals. In addition, they will use local, seasonal, vegetables and surplus food from LOVE Food’s community fridge. The sessions will mainly be using induction hobs, air fryers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, and hay boxes. There will be six sessions, one every two months, delivered to about 50 people. Accordingly, ECOE has awarded LOVE Food £1,000 to run these sessions.

Pippins Community Centre

Finally, the fourth award went to Pippins Community Centre in Axminster,  improving energy efficiency in this Grade II listed building. Steps include adding secondary glazing to windows, sealant strips around doors and windows, and thermally insulated curtains and double doors. Therefore, ECOE has now awarded Pippins £524.58 to cover this work.