Community organisations and charities benefit from clean energy grants

Cllr Mahendran visiting the Olney Centre

Milton Keynes City Council is supporting local community organisations and charities to make major sustainability upgrades to their buildings.

Community groups and public organisations could receive up to 50% match funding from the city council to support works that provide a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

The latest organisation to benefit is Olney Town Council who have made transformational changes to the historic Olney Centre thanks to the city council’s support. The Olney Centre, which was built in 1877 has community space, a library and a preschool. Through the Carbon Offset Fund, the building has had a number of works to improve energy efficiency, including the installation of solar panels, LED lighting, a heat pump system and double glazed windows. Olney Town Council received £161,000 from the city council to support the installation.

“The Olney Centre is a fabulous centre, built as a school in 1877, its original occupants were a hardier bunch than the current inhabitants, who expect more than having to sit in coats and fingerless gloves! The old heating system was probably considered luxurious in its day but, having seen better times and with the price of gas, both financially and environmentally, it was long due a massive overhaul to bring it to the current sustainable standards. We are grateful to MKCC for assisting us in accessing the funds to enable us to continue to provide the space for community use, from children to seniors, and from sports use to meetings and weddings.”
- Olney Town Council Clerk, Jane Brushwood

The Carbon Offset Fund is one of many sustainability initiatives being led by MK City Council, and gives a financial incentive to organisations who may be keen to reduce their carbon footprint but who can’t find the whole investment to do so. Eligible organisations could receive up to 50% match funding from the city council. Applications are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis. Interested organisations can learn more about the scheme, including eligibility criteria and application requirements on the city council’s website.

A similar programme for residents is due to be announced in 2024.

“It’s fantastic to see how such a historic building can implement major sustainability upgrades, and yet maintain its character. Well done to everyone at Olney Town Council for this fantastic achievement. I’m delighted to see more applications being made through the Carbon Offset Fund, which shows our city is dedicated to taking meaningful steps to reduce emissions. I encourage other organisations to do the same, so they can benefit from saving on their energy bills while protecting our environment.”
- Cabinet Member for Climate Sustainability and Innovation, Cllr Shanika Mahendran