GROUPS and projects in Barnsley can now apply for grants of up to £10,000 to improve their local communities.

The Park Spring Wind Farm Community Benefits Fund, which is managed by South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF), is open to organisations within a 5km radius of Park Spring Wind Farm, at Grimethorpe.

Operators EDF Energy Renewables has pledged £42,750 every year for the life of the wind farm to directly benefit local community projects and initiatives.

Emma Mallinson, grants officer for SYCF – the largest local grant giving charity in South Yorkshire, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for groups to receive financial support which will improve the physical, built or social environment of the local area.

“Typically, grants of between £500 and £10,000 are available to those based close by to the wind farm. In exceptional circumstances, applications of up to £20,000 can be submitted if they have significant and lasting community benefit.”

Funding will be awarded to community projects which make a tangible and long-term difference, including community based projects and activities, improvements to community buildings, maintenance of recreational facilities, initiatives which promote bio-diversity and habitat conservation, energy conservation and renewables.

The projects must benefit residents living within three to five kilometres of the wind farm.

Dearne Electronic Community Village, which provides specialised support for local people to gain IT and employment skills, previously received more than £7,000 from the Park Springs Wind Farm Community Benefits Fund.

The money covered the costs of tutoring and maintaining the service so it can stay open five days a week.

Rory Garforth, ICT & Employability Skills Tutor, said: “We always have a constant stream of learners coming in and we get referrals from the job centre every day.

“Many of them don’t really know how to use computers. I arrange each session so the first half is for developing IT skills. The second half is for job searches, applications and whatever else they might need help with. Our IT courses are accredited so they get a qualification out of the sessions which looks good on their CVs.

“So when we get people getting qualified through the courses, it is great. We give them their certificates and it’s a big thing for a lot of them to be given that certificate. For them, being recognised as achieving something is a big deal.”

The deadline for applications to the Fund is 9am on February 26.

For more information or for assistance completing an application, call SYCF’s Grants Team on 0114 242 4857 or visit Park Spring Wind Farm Community Benefits Fund | South Yorkshire's Community Foundation (