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January 12, 2011

Making compensation pay

Most windfarms pay some level of compensation for the disruption or visual impact on neighbouring communities. In many cases – especially the large projects – this cash goes into a ‘community fund’ but decisions about who gets what are often effectively controlled by the local council.  However sometimes communities get direct access to the cash and as the scale of these payments grows, the potential to make a real impact will become significant.  As in the case of the village of Kirkmichael

‘Throughout the whole of the procedure we have found the Drumderg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund to be flexible and pragmatic while at the same time ensuring the money is used in a proper manner. The end result is our village shop and post office saved. Our community has a new lease of life.’  Sally Gingell, Strathardle Trading CIC

We received £35,000 from the Drumderg Fund in June 2009 to take over the village shop, café and petrol outlet in the village of Kirkmichael.

To be a community interest company, or CIC as it’s more commonly known, the company’s focus is on generating jobs and income for the surrounding area. The Strathardle CIC is no different. It raised the funds from the Drumderg Fund and other sources to retain the village shop as a viable trading outlet, providing six local jobs, somewhere to get groceries, and a post office. One thousand people in the surrounding area will directly benefit from these services.

Since the transfer of the business to community ownership, the level of community investment, both in terms of financial contributions and volunteer activity, has grown. There’s been overwhelming local support of the community buyout. The local shop is a community hub where people not only shop, but meet to exchange views and publicise local events.