Local projects thrive with £20,000 in grants from Ferry Farm Community Solar

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After another successful year, Selsey-based Ferry Farm Community Solar has awarded £20,000 in grants to support local projects across Selsey and Sidlesham. These grants, made possible by the community solar farm, have significantly benefited community-driven and environmentally-focused projects in the area.

Ferry Farm Community Solar donated small grants to seven local organisations, including UKHarvest, which manages the Selsey Community Food Hub and redistributes fresh produce to those in need. Over the past year alone, UKHarvest has welcomed 2,411 visitors, provided meals for 6,056 individuals, and distributed 25,458 kilograms of rescued food. Ruth Tovim from UKHarvest expressed her thanks and highlighted the project’s impact: "In 2023, Selsey saw 50 Community Food Hubs (CFHs), where our diverse visitors not only chose nutritious food to take home but also learned about nutrition and cooking.”

“They also met with key local support services such as the NHS, Citizen’s Advice, and Southern and Portsmouth Water. Feedback from visitors and volunteers has been overwhelmingly positive. This inclusivity and community spirit has provided lifelines to individuals and families experiencing financial, health, and social deprivation.”

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The Hidden Garden, part of Grow Selsey, received support to develop outreach projects promoting local food growing, wildlife conservation, and biodiversity. Paul Sadler, Environmental Coordinator for Selsey Community Forum, praised the grant's impact:

UKHarvest volunteers distributing fresh vegetables at the Selsey Community Food Hub.UKHarvest volunteers distributing fresh vegetables at the Selsey Community Food Hub.
UKHarvest volunteers distributing fresh vegetables at the Selsey Community Food Hub.

“Thanks to the wonderful support from Ferry Farm Community Solar's Grant both Grow Selsey and The Hidden Garden have really grown and expanded over the past 12 months. We now have a pool of 25 volunteers who look after the garden and an increasing number of visitors from the general public.”

“We continue to grow a wide range of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers which are sometimes available to the public and are offered to other SCF projects supporting Together Time meals and Tea Garden visitors. We have also started to host a local Forest School Project, using our woodland area."

Other projects which have benefitted include:

  • Selsey Beach Litter Ninjas: To buy protective gear for beach clean-ups to enhance marine habitats by removing litter and safeguarding local wildlife and coastal ecosystems.
  • Mulberry Marine Experiences: To fund the new Selsey Junior Marine Ecology Club.
  • Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group: To create an interactive map of green spaces in Selsey for residents to submit garden info online, boosting local wildlife habitats.
  • The Selsey Venture Club: To implement energy efficiency measures to reduce their electricity consumption and energy bills.
The solar array at Ferry Farm Community Solar, located on the outskirts of Selsey.The solar array at Ferry Farm Community Solar, located on the outskirts of Selsey.
The solar array at Ferry Farm Community Solar, located on the outskirts of Selsey.

The grants were awarded by Ferry Farm Community Solar, a not-for-profit community energy group that runs a 5-megawatt solar array just outside of Sesley. Its 18,000 solar panels generate 5 million kWh of renewable electricity a year, the equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 1,300 homes.

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The solar farm earns income from the sale of electricity and a Feed-in Tariff. Surplus income generated by the Community Solar Farm (after operating and finance costs) is used to provide funding for community organisations and projects in the local area. The solar farm is governed by local volunteer directors and run for the benefit of the local community.

The company's open grant fund continues to support initiatives in energy, environmental education, climate change readiness, and wildlife conservation. The next funding round, with £25,000 available, will launch this autumn. Interested organisations are encouraged to apply later this year via the Selsey Community Forum.

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