$35,000 in social support awarded as part of Winton Solar Farm Community Grants.
December 15, 2020
Six local community groups have been awarded a share of $35,000 as part of the inaugural Winton Solar Farm Community Grants.
Launched in August this year, the Winton Solar Farm Community Grants supports local organisations to deliver quality initiatives and programs that reflect the region’s key priorities.
Winners of this year’s Winton Community Grants and funded projects are:
• Waminda Community House, Benalla – creation of an inclusive community garden
• Winton Cemetery Trust – building new areas for contemplation and bird habitat
• Tatong Memorial Hall – delivery of quality drinking water
• Benalla Woodworkers’ Association – improvement to dust filtration
• Renewable Energy Benalla – seed funding for a new Community Energy Project
• Winton CFA – Delivery of new firefighting equipment and training.
FRV Managing Director, Carlo Frigerio, said he had been impressed with the remarkably strong interest in the Winton Solar Farm Grant Program.
“Winton, Benalla and surrounding townships have many active community groups working to improve their local community, drive resident participation in local events or enhance the local environment,” he said.
“We’re really keen for the Winton Community Grants to be a catalyst for even more new and exciting projects getting underway and delivering noticeable benefits for the community,” he said.
Selection criteria for the Winton Community Grants were tailored to ensure funding best reflected the interests and values of the local community.
“Making sure local residents have a say in the grants process was really important to us as they have the best knowledge of this community and what it needs to continue to grow and prosper,” Mr Frigerio said.
Janet Symes, Coordinator at Waminda House and a winner of a Community Grant, said the development of a new community garden at the organisation’s Ballintine Street facility would enable residents who were feeling socially isolated to engage in therapeutic gardening activities in the company of others.
“Creating a sense of belonging has always been important to us and this garden will enable community members of all abilities to practice and learn water-smart gardening in a lovely, welcoming new community space,” she said.
“Produce will be grown in a locally-made wicking system – to save water and encourage healthier soils for vegetable production.
“We’re delighted to be able to progress this project – and use local suppliers to deliver the infrastructure we will be using to create this welcoming community space,” she said.
John Lloyd, convenor of volunteer sustainability group, Renewable Energy Benalla, (an action group of Benalla Sustainable Future Group) said funding would enable the group to launch its Community Energy Project and progressively install solar and energy efficiency upgrades on local community buildings.
“Funding from Winton Solar Farm will enable us to provide a loan to Munro Avenue Preschool to install premium solar panels and a smart meter next month.
“With the savings they make from going solar, the Preschool can pay back this loan in a few years, at which point we will reinvest the money into providing new solar panels for another community group,” he said.
Construction of the Winton Solar Farm, on Winton-Glenrowan Road, is well advanced with a targeted completion date of early to mid-next year.
Principal contractor, Gransolar, partnered with FRV to provide additional community funding for this year and will provide $14,000 for the Winton Rural Fire Service, a key local contributor to the Project and the community.
“Winton Rural Fire Brigade do so much for this tight-knit community and we’re really pleased Gransolar has been able to help them extend their emergency support services – and give back to their volunteer teams,” Mr Frigerio said.
When complete, the Winton Solar Farm will provide an additional 85 megawatts of clean energy to the Victorian electricity grid, enough power for around 52,000 homes.