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Local Scout Group Secures £93K Funding Boost to Futureproof Community Hall with Eco-Friendly Upgrades

23/02/2024

An Ardrossan Scout group has been awarded £93,000 by SP Energy Networks’ Net Zero Fund to carry out extensive sustainable upgrades to a community hall regarded as a vital part of the town’s fabric.

  • 1st Ardrossan Scouts awarded £93,000 to renovate hall with low carbon tech set to reduce emissions by nearly 400%
  • Learnings from the renovations to be included in updated ‘green’ Scout badges to help children learn about net zero  
  • Fund reopens to support charities and community groups with their net zero plans

The planned renovations include retrofitting the 1960s building to add insulation and new glazed windows, as well as installing an air source heat pump to sustainably warm the hall year-round.

The 1st Ardrossan 15th Ayrshire Scouts will also incorporate learnings from the project into its current Global Issues and Community Impact badges to involve young people in the project and teach Scouts, Cubs, Beavers, and Explorers about the importance of reaching net zero.

The group is one of the recipients of SP Energy Networks’ Net Zero Fund – a £5million funding pot designed to support vulnerable communities across Central and Southern Scotland and ensure no one is left behind as the country moves towards to net zero emissions.

Several organisations from across the local area also make use of the hall including Drum4URlife - an adult drumming group aimed at promoting positive health and wellbeing – and RAMH North Ayrshire Wellbeing and Recovery College. The planned renovations are expected to boost weekly visitor numbers to over 200, allowing more charities and community organisations to use the facilities.

In addition to reducing emissions by 387%, the eco-friendly upgrades are set to result in a saving in energy outgoings which will be reinvested back into the running and maintenance of the hall to ensure it remains an affordable hire space for the community.

Scott Mathieson, Network Planning and Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks, said: Both my daughter and I were fortunate enough to take part in the Scout movement. For me, it opened a world I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise, and for my daughter, as a young woman, it gave her the confidence to pursue a career in engineering. That’s why I’m so proud our business can make a contribution to essential venues like this community hall used by the Scouts. Venues like this are at the heart of local communities across Scotland and it’s crucial that these vital facilities are able to be decarbonised.”  

“The planned renovations will completely transform the building and enable more groups to make use of the hall while also contributing to a reduction in both energy bills and emissions. Personally, I’m also delighted they’re able to include the learnings from the project to form two Scout badges involving young people in environmental discussions.” 

He added: “SPEN’s Net Zero Fund is currently accepting more applications as part of its second round, and we’d love to hear from eligible charities and community groups looking for help with their own net zero plans.”

Alan Donaldson, Trustee Board Chair, 1st Ardrossan 15th Ayrshire Scout Group, said: “Since it was built in the 1960s, our hall has hosted a huge number of weekly groups, events and meetings and we’re proud to be able to offer people a place to connect and make memories.  

“These modernisations are much-needed and will be transformational for the space – allowing us to reduce our emissions, cut our bills and boost our visitor numbers. Most importantly though, is the knowledge we’ll pass on to our Scouts through the updated badges, helping young people learn about sustainability and involving them in positive conversations around climate action. We’re incredibly grateful to SP Energy Networks’ Net Zero Fund for their support.”

A host of charities and organisations supporting communities across Scotland have been awarded funding from SP Energy Networks’ Net Zero Fund to introduce innovative net zero technology. The groups will receive grants to help them decarbonise and reach their net zero targets sooner, with projects ranging from installation of solar panels and heat pumps to the purchase of electric vehicles and retrofitting listed buildings to increase energy efficiency.

The next round of the Net Zero Fund is now open and is welcoming applications from eligible charities and community organisations. Alongside financial support, the fund also offers guidance and support through workshops tailored to community organisations and charities looking to take the next step on their decarbonisation journey.

SP Energy Networks, part of the ScottishPower group, owns and operates the electricity transmission and distribution network in Central and Southern Scotland, delivering power to more than two million homes and businesses. The Net Zero Fund has been established through SP Transmission, a subsidiary of SP Energy Networks, responsible for transmitting high-voltage electricity from power stations and windfarms to the low-voltage network across Central and Southern Scotland.   

More information about the Net Zero Fund and eligibility criteria is available at: www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/netzerofund

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