Between 2018 and 2021, Severn Wye was the lead partner on the Sustainable Communities Wales programme, providing free resource efficiency advice and specialist support to community organisations across Wales.
Aiming to support 150 community organisations across the nation, Severn Wye opted to deliver via a consortium of five energy efficiency experts and business support services located strategically across the country to provide local support, promote local solutions and exemplify partnership working. As part of the contract, Severn Wye also established an installer network for Wales, in order to promote local work going to local contractors – again benefiting the Welsh economy, investing in the local ‘green’ economy and ensuring that community organisations’ projects contribute towards community wealth building.
Participants received a site survey looking at energy supply and consumption and water usage, and receive a detailed report on their buildings. This report included recommendations for how the organisation could improve their resource efficiency with behaviour change, simple low-cost improvements and investment in new or replacement features. Community organisations could benefit further from fully-funded feasibility studies for complex projects, such as on-site renewable energy generation, significant redevelopment works or highly technical improvements.
Learning from a similar project run previously, Severn Wye brought a community finance firm onto the consortium for Sustainable Communities Wales. Offering an exclusive zero percent loan to project participants meant that there was a financial mechanism to get projects off the ground where otherwise community organisations struggle to raise the investment capital.
As the contract progressed, Severn Wye partnered with community organisation support project Renew Wales and Wales’ National Lottery Community Fund, using Sustainable Communities Wales as a conduit for climate action funding, with 65 community organisations receiving advice on renewable energy options to attract between £10,000 and £15,000 to install. This collaboration led to significant installations that may not otherwise have gone ahead.
Sustainable Communities Wales led to over £1 million of carbon-saving installation contracts to Welsh businesses, facilitating the installation of 117 measures and saving 421 tonnes of CO2e in the process.
This best practice is issued from our publication Sustainable Regions in Action 2022. Read it now to discover many more best practices from FEDARENE members as well as an overview of our activities.