A COMMUNITY hall has been saved from closure after being awarded funding from a local wind farm.

The Stonehouse Scot and Guide Committee Hall in South Lanarkshire needed essential repair work to enable it to reopen in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The committee of volunteers who look after the building feared they may lose it completely as they could not afford the necessary repairs, including a full electrical rewire and the replacement of the building's fire doors.

However, the Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Wind Farm community fund, which was set up to provide financial assistance to community groups and voluntary organisations in the areas surrounding the major wind farm, awarded £7000 in funding towards the repairs of the hall.

Tracy Neill, treasurer of Stonehouse Scout and Guide Hall Committee, said: “We are incredibly thankful to have received a grant from The Kype Muir Wind Farm Community Fund which has proved vital to the hall’s survival.”

The National: More than 240 children use the hall every week since the repairs were completedMore than 240 children use the hall every week since the repairs were completed (Image: Banks Renewables)

“The Stonehouse Scout and Guide Hall plays an important role in our community and is also host to a number of events such as coffee mornings which are very well attended and particularly enjoyed by the elderly members of the community who depend on them for socialising.”

With additional help from a number of other grants and donations from various organisations and members of the community, the hall has now been completely refurbished with a brand-new kitchen, new flooring, windows and doors, a boiler and a rejuvenated garden area – as well as being repainted.

Now, the 90-year-old building hosts over 240 children from local scouting and guiding units every week as well as other sporting and wellbeing groups.

Neill added: “After the hall had remained empty over the lockdown, we returned to see that there wasn’t a single window undamaged, the fire doors were so rotten they wouldn’t open or close, one of the toilets was riddled with damp and the premises needed a full electrical rewire.

“As one of the first grants received, the funding from Banks Renewables was pivotal in saving the hall.

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“As a committee, we are extremely grateful and overwhelmed by the funding that we were awarded which has allowed for an unbelievable transformation of the building to give us what now feels like a new hall providing a clean, safe, warm space for our local children and communities’ future.

“Everyone went above and beyond and we were able to carry out the essential repairs to not only re-open the hall safely for the benefit our local community but to upgrade and maintain the hall to ensure it remains in the village for many more years to come.”

The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family firm commits to maximising the economic and social benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.

Applications for community funding are determined by the Kype Muir Community Partnership (KMCP), a group that consists of community councils local to the Kype Muir Wind Farm and developers, Banks Renewables.

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In addition to the KMCP grant, the group also received £16,397.40 courtesy of the Renewable Energy Fund (REF), distributed by South Lanarkshire Council, which also uses funding from Banks Renewables’ wind farm developments.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables, said: “It is causes such as this one that remind us why it is so important to give back to the local community.

“The transformation of the hall will continue to benefit the local area for years to come and we are delighted to have played a part in that.

“It is brilliant to see the diverse range of projects and causes that Kype Muir Wind Farm community fund has helped and we are looking forward to providing even more worthwhile community groups, voluntary organisations and environmental projects with grants that benefit the communities local to our developments.”

Kype Muir and Kype Muir Extension are set to deliver community benefits equating to more than £770,000 each year in funding made available to communities within a 10km radius of the wind farm.

The 41 turbines of Kype Muir and Kype Muir Extension will have a combined installed generating capacity of over 150MW of electricity per annum.

This is enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 100,000 homes, around two thirds of the households in South Lanarkshire.