Thirty-nine young people from Argyll will shortly be receiving the first installment of their 2016-17 support grant from the Educational Trust established by the landowning partners in the Allt Dearg and Sròndoire Community Wind Farms .
The original funding from Allt Dearg has been boosted by £18,000 from the new Sròndoire Community Wind Farm, increasing the Educational Trust’s annual income to £50,000. The total donated to the Educational Trust since Allt Dearg started production at the end of 2012 has now reached just under £150,000.
Starting four years ago with 17 local young people receiving grants, the Trust has added new students every year, while continuing to support everyone throughout their course. A total of 62 young people have now received grants totalling over £120,000.
The Trust was set up by the Broadfoot and Lithgow families, who developed both Community Wind Farms. The Trust shares the economic benefit across the wider community to the best long term socio-economic advantage of Argyll, encouraging local youngsters into further education, who might otherwise be deterred by the cost of living away from home. The Trust is funded by all the owners of the Allt Dearg and Sròndoire Community Wind Farms, including the Community Trust owners. The Allt Dearg Educational Trust supports those students living away from their family home, and priority is given to those from areas closest to the wind farms. The Trust presently supports students studying a wide range of Degree courses, including Masters in Engineering, Medicine, Teaching and Nursing, and various HNC and HND students.
One of last year’s students from Ardrishaig said: "I would just like to say thank you for the grant I received this year as it honestly made such a difference to my first year at college and my first year trying to be financially stable without living with my parents. I feel it’s an amazing thing that you do and I know many other students that receive it that feel the same. I know that it would have been a lot more of a struggle without it and for that I am truly grateful."
A local nursing student said: "I have again applied to you fingers crossed all round from me as this helped me immensely last year and I am super grateful for that, I cannot begin to explain how much that helped me, you guys deserve some credit for me getting this far and finally getting my dream of Uni, being the first and only one in my family to go to Uni, my nanny has 7 children and 24 grandchildren, with only 10 left in school, I feel pretty privileged and really proud of myself. Thank you for helping me gain my dream."
James Lithgow of Ormsary said: "We are extremely grateful to the Trustees of the Trust who have worked so hard to turn our original idea into practical reality, encouraging and supporting local young people in their ambitions and studies at University and College. The feedback from students who have benefited from the Trust is really encouraging, and demonstrates that our Community Wind Farms can make a positive difference to young people's lives. Allt Dearg and Sròndoire remain uniquely successful collaborations between the landowners and neighbouring communities ".