Shropshire Star

Green energy boost for Festival Drayton Centre thanks to funding from Shropshire and Telford Community Energy (STCE)

A community-owned arts and entertainment centre in Market Drayton is celebrating a green energy boost, thanks to a local solar farm.

Festival Drayton Centre

The Festival Drayton Centre has received £4,000 which has been put towards installing solar panels at the venue, thanks to the Twemlows solar farm community benefit fund managed by Shropshire and Telford Community Energy (STCE).

STCE has now launched a share offer to take the Twemlows site into community ownership in a move which will enable local people who care about climate change to put their money to work to tackle the issue directly.

The move would also allow people to earn a fair return on their investment, and increase the solar farm’s financial contribution to the local area. This is estimated to amount to around £4.5 million over the next 18 years.

The offer aims to raise at least £730,000, offering a target return of 6 per cent.

Geoff Vernon, chair of Festival Drayton, said: “Festival Drayton Centre is a long-established charity and not-for-profit multi-purpose community and arts centre.

“We are a valued social hub for the area, providing opportunities for both volunteering and to experience cinema and events in our local community.

“With help from the STCE grant fund we have installed solar PV panels on the roof of our centre to provide solar energy for when we need it and to generate renewable power and heating to the building – thus making a considerable reduction in carbon emissions.

“As we run a coffee shop, cinema and live events in our centre, we are heavy users of electricity. The investment in solar panels will not only be cost-effective but have environmental benefits as well.

“We are delighted and grateful for the contribution the STCE grant has made to our investment in solar energy. This funding enables us to reduce our carbon emissions to benefit the environment, while also helping us to continue to provide volunteer-led arts and activities in Market Drayton.”

The new solar panels will cut the centre’s large energy bill, helping to ensure the sustainability of the highly-valued community building.

Dave Green, secretary of STCE, said: “We are very pleased to use our community benefit fund to support this important investment in the very popular Festival Drayton Centre.

"Our Twemlows solar farm is only nine miles from Market Drayton, and it is important to us that we support projects like these which will benefit our neighbours for years to come.

“Our share offer gives local people a chance to own a part of a sustainable, forward-thinking business which is a real part of the Shropshire community and generates funds to support local projects.”

To invest in Twemlows solar farm visit The minimum investment is £250.

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