The company which built the new windfarm off the Sussex coast has this afternoon announced it is creating a £4 million community fund to be spent across the county.
Of this, £800,000 will be invested in a visitor centre in the arches just east of the i360 in Brighton and £100,000 will be donated to local RNLI stations.
The rest will be available as the Rampion Fund, which community groups, charities and not-for-profit organisations in a specified area will be able to bid for grants from.
Chris Tomlinson, development and stakeholder manager for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, said: “We’re delighted to be able to launch the Rampion Fund being managed by Sussex Community Foundation.
“Our aim is to make a real difference to people living in the area surrounding the wind farm and we hope many organisations will apply to the fund to support their local Sussex projects.
“We’re also happy to be able to announce the location of the Rampion Visitor Centre, due to open later next year.
“The newly refurbished seafront arches in Brighton were chosen due to their view of the wind farm, high footfall location and excellent public transport connections, as well as their size of floor space, which will allow us to house exhibitions and interactive displays for visitors to learn more about wind energy and discover the whole Rampion story.”
The arches are currently being let, rent free, to local artists while Rampion finalises its exhibition plans for the space prior to installation in spring 2018.
The visitor centre is planned to open in mid to late 2018 when Rampion will begin to engage with schools in Sussex to give students the opportunity to visit the centre to support their studies.
The community benefit fund will be managed by the Sussex Community Foundation, a local grant-making charity with a successful track record in managing community funds and supporting local charities and community groups.
Grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available, with higher grants up to £50,000 for larger capital projects.
Kevin Richmond, chief executive of the Sussex Community Foundation, said: “We’re pleased to be chosen to work with Rampion to help manage this community fund.
“This fund will have a very positive long-term impact for local charities and community groups.
“We are excited to be managing it and we will make sure that it reaches the local groups that most need the funding.”
The deadline for the first round of grant making is Friday 12 January 2018. Full criteria can be found here.