This scheme was conceived to further the objective of improving the quality of life for the residents and visitors to Mull and Iona. The income from the scheme in the early years will bring seed funding to sustain already successful island based projects and help to promote community groups and social enterprises. In later years, once the finance has been repaid, it is hoped that increasing amounts will be available to fund larger projects.
Existing Island based community funding options
MESS (Mull & Iona Environmentally Sensitive Solutions) operates several charity shops – ‘Island Castaways’ – as part of our commitment to reduce waste and encourage re-use of items. Once the cost of operating the shops has been met, surpluses are shared between the charitable and unfunded costs of MICT and other island projects. Any voluntary group based on Mull, Iona or associated islands may apply to MESS for funding support. MESS grants are intended to specifically support island based groups and project and cannot be made to private businesses or individuals, for party political groups or for any groups which only benefit mainland residents.
Mull Sea Eagle Partnership
The Sea Eagle Partnership raises funds from entry fees & donations from the public at the viewing hide. A proportion of these funds are distributed to local good causes via the Sea Eagle Fund. The Sea Eagle Partnership comprises Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Police Scotland and the Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT). The partners have agreed that these funds should be used to maximise the social and economic benefits to Mull and Iona derived from the re-introduction of the Sea Eagles. Funds are distributed each September so applications must be received by August to be considered by the partnership.
The current maximum amount available from either of these funds is £500.
Long Term Benefits
Garmony hydro is a long term income generating project designed for at least 40 years, probably much longer. The project team has drafted a set of criteria and processes by which decisions on which projects to fund might be made. This is intended to provide a robust, fair and transparent process and will be implemented by the Community Waterfall Fund committee and MICT to ensure that the best use is made of the profits.
Short Term Benefits
Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) is in constant communication with local community groups regarding funding applications. Currently MICT administer funds from a number of local fund raising ventures, e.g. The Sea Eagle fund and the MESS fund. However these funds limit the amounts they can give to £500. It is hoped that the “waterfall” fund from the Garmony hydro scheme will enable larger amounts of money to be given to groups and social enterprises and to enable larger projects to become a reality.
The project team intend to involve schools in as much of the design and build elements as is possible. This will enable younger people to understand and embrace the idea of renewable energy and to appreciate what is involved with a large project. The hope being that it may inspire some of them to become involved with similar projects later. It was the local schools who designed the Green Energy Mull logo
As the project unfolds it is intended to create a document library that is accessible by other communities. The intention is to assist, where possible other schemes that both promote renewable energy and community based projects. Members of the team will be willing to make themselves available for visits and to share their experiences.
Mull and Iona wish to become significantly less reliant on fossil fuels and much more self-sufficient with its energy requirements. Mull had been criticised in the past, at both local and national government levels for not having any large scale electricity generating systems in place. The Garmony hydro scheme will go some way towards addressing this by generating around 925MWh of electricity per year.
The Scottish Government has a 100% renewable target by 2020. The Garmony Hydro scheme will contribute to this target.
It is hoped that this scheme is only the start. Mull has many areas that could be suitable for additional hydro schemes. Using money from the Waterfall Fund it should be possible to add more schemes and to increase the renewable energy contribution from Mull and Iona.