Principles for our proposed Community Benefit Fund

The Cuckmere Community Solar Farm aims to bring a range of benefits to our local area: environmental benefits of reducing carbon emissions and promoting biodiversity; economic benefits including dividends retained locally; and social benefits through the creation of a fund for local use from our Community Dividend – the surplus income we will generate. This note describes this fund.

If we are successful in making our project happen, we will have the inspiring opportunity to use a new source of community income to help people make their homes warmer, cheaper to run and more sustainable. Our projections indicate an annual income of £30,000 or more.

The Cuckmere Solar Community Dividend will be the surplus we generate each year from our income. We will seek out the most effective and efficient ways to use this income to tackle local fuel poverty and encourage local sustainability and low-carbon energy use. The fund will be open for residents, members (shareholders) and community groups to apply for grants and interest-free loans to make improvements to their homes or local community facilities.

Key considerations

  • We plan to prioritise those closest to the solar farm first.
  • The remit of the fund will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that we are achieving the best possible outcomes. We will consult our members and the local community.
  • The maximum grant made from this fund will generally be £5,000. There will be no minimum. In exceptional cases larger grants may be made. We may wish to make our money go further by, for example, helping multiple households to make the same improvement.

Governance of the fund

  • Cuckmere Community Solar is exploring the potential benefits of working with the Sussex Community Foundation, who have experience of coordinating similar community funds within the voluntary sector across Sussex.
  • The Sussex Community Foundation is a Charitable Trust and therefore any donations made into the fund are exempt from tax – and also bound by rules that ensure proper use.

Come and join us – and make it a community project!

Cuckmere solar farm