We’ve been shortlisted for the 2017 Marks and Spencer Energy Fund, to put solar panels on our community-led Visitor Centre and Boat Museum. Our application is now up for public vote, so we’re appealing to all you lovely people to cast your vote and help make this happen! You have until 20 October.
To find out more, and to cast your vote, go to: www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/solar-powered-tourism.
Here’s a short film we made to explain it all, and to get you humming ‘Here Comes The Sun’ through all your meetings this week:
In summary, solar panels would save money and create income for the building, so freeing up funds to spend on high quality tourism marketing for the town, which would help to boost our local economy.
For those of you who don’t know the history, we facilitated the build of the Watchet Visitor Centre in 2016 as an extension to the Watchet Boat Museum, which simultaneously underwent refurbishment. This followed the large scale consultation we did with the people of Watchet to determine what we all felt was needed to give the town a stronger future. A more buoyant local economy, created in large part by an increase in the tourist offer, was identified.
The Visitor Centre building work was carried out thanks to grant funding from a Hinckley Point Community Impact Mitigation fund and the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation. The fabulous Watchet Community Makers then carried out much of the internal refurbishment of the boat museum, supporting the town and learning skills along the way.
If the application is successful, the panels will be installed at the end of this year. Planning permission has already been granted. The system will be battery ready, which also leaves scope for a future sustainable community business to be run from the building.
The Marks and Spencer Energy Fund is run annually, and provides UK community organisations with an opportunity to win a share of £300,000 to support their renewable energy projects and technologies. They look for projects that are well supported by their local communities, so only those with the most votes win the cash – so please cast your vote and help spread the word!