Falkirk community groups could claim up to £5000 from windfarm fund

Masterclasses...were held at Stenhousemuir FC for local youth teams, with pre match and half time activities during home ties for around 300 children.
Masterclasses...were held at Stenhousemuir FC for local youth teams, with pre match and half time activities during home ties for around 300 children.

The wind turbines at Tod Hill in Torwood do not just generate electricity.

For the life of the wind farm, they will also provide £24,000 in cash every year – rising with inflation – for community groups in Torwood, Larbert and Stenhousemuir.

Cycling Without Age...the Falkirk chapter of the Scottish-wide charity, which runs side by side with CATCA, was able to buy a trishaw to help make cycling accessible for all ages and abilities. (Pic: Michael Gillen)

Cycling Without Age...the Falkirk chapter of the Scottish-wide charity, which runs side by side with CATCA, was able to buy a trishaw to help make cycling accessible for all ages and abilities. (Pic: Michael Gillen)

And those groups are now being encouraged to bid for the cash, with an information evening being held later this month for interested parties.

Foundation Scotland, which manages the fund provided by Falkirk Todhill Wind Limited, is keen for more groups to apply.

On Tuesday, August 27, in the Larbert Age Concern Hall, a meeting will be staged from 6.30pm to allow groups to find out more about the fund before the closing date of September 17.

With grants of between £250 and £5000 available, it could prove very fruitful for successful applicants.

Self-funded...CATCA paid for improvement works on a derelict piece of land in front of the Plough Hotel but maintenance work was required to keep it looking its best.

Self-funded...CATCA paid for improvement works on a derelict piece of land in front of the Plough Hotel but maintenance work was required to keep it looking its best.

Among those who will be attending that meeting is Steph Toms, a member of the Community Fund Panel since it was first established in 2016.

And she hopes that more diverse groups will come along to find out more.

Steph from Larbert, who works in art education at City of Glasgow College, used to apply for grants from funding bodies when she previously worked for the local authority.

So she knows only too well how daunting the application process can be.

Sign of the times...the interpretation board was showing its age so CATCA used some of the Todhill funds to restore this sign to its former glory.

Sign of the times...the interpretation board was showing its age so CATCA used some of the Todhill funds to restore this sign to its former glory.

She will be on hand to explain how easy it is for local groups to apply.

Steph said: “I got involved when the panel was first founded three years ago, after hearing about it at the local community council meeting.

“At that time, a number of community council members were on the panel along with members of the public, like me.

“All applications initially go to Foundation Scotland, then to the panel members, who decide which groups meet the criteria.

“Groups can apply for up to £5000 which can make a huge difference to smaller, grassroots organisations.

“The first year, we had a small amount of money left but, as word has grown, more applications have started to come in.

“However, we’d love to encourage a wider range of organisations to apply.

“We want as many local groups as possible to acess the funding. We’ve had a lot of interest from youth groups but I’d love to see more applications coming in to benefit older people too.”

So dedicated is Steph to the cause that she is missing an important date with her husband, Martin.

She added: “It’s actually our wedding anniversary that day but we’ll be doing something later in the week so Martin understands!

“We’ve only lived in Larbert for 14 years so it has been a great way for me to find out about local groups.

“It’s nice to be able to give something back to the local community.”

One of Steph’s favourite grant applications will also be featured at the meeting.

Christine Bell, who is co-founder and chairwoman of Communities Along the Carron Association (CATCA) and Cycling Without Age Scotland executive officer, will explain how Todhill funding helped them.

CATCA applied for £5000 in 2017 to buy a trishaw for the local chapter of Cycling Without Age.

And last year, it was awarded a further £5000 to maintain an area of land in front of the Plough Hotel on which CATCA had funded a number of improvements, including an interpretation panel for visitors.

Christine said: “It’s getting harder for local groups to source funding so it’s great that Foundation Scotland makes it easily accessible.

“The meeting is being held in the hall in which CATCA was formed so it’s a bit of a homecoming for us.”

Jamie Swinney, the chief executive of Stenhousemuir Football Club, will also be in attendance. Last year, the club was awarded £3000 to help local children.

Jamie said: “The money allowed us to provide free tickets for local primary school pupils and S1 and S2 classes at Larbert High.

“Masterclasses for local youth teams were also held at 15 of our 18 home ties.

“We’re a community club so it was great to see local pupils enjoying the game, here at their local ground.

“Some 300 took part in the masterclasses and 3000 free tickets were issued.

“We’d done it on a much smaller scale before but the funding helped scale it up.”

The club would like to repeat the venture ... if it can source more funding.

Community groups, charities, volunteers and local residents from Todhill are welcome to attend the meeting on August 27.

Visit www.foundationscotland.org.uk/programmes/todhill for more details.