Corporate social responsibility, as it is sometimes now termed, really began when Victorian industrialists started wanting to address the social ills of their age, including the poor living conditions of their workers.
One of the first was Sir Titus Salt who built a ‘model village’ for his workers, alongside his new mill, in 1853, at Saltaire near Bradford. The houses had mains drainage and most had their own loo. There were parks, too – but no pubs, as Sir Titus saw ‘drink’ as being at the root of many of society’s problems. Other industrial philanthropists included the Cadbury, the Rowntree and the Lever Brothers families, company brands still operational today and all with flourishing community programmes.
These days, ‘community benefit’ is embedded into the DNA of how many companies operate and so it is with many utility companies such as Rampion Offshore Wind Ltd, which recently completed the installation of 116 turbines off the Sussex coast. The UK is the windiest country in Europe and, when complete, the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm will provide enough electricity to supply almost 347,000 homes a year, equivalent to around half the homes in Sussex.
Community foundations across the UK have become the ‘go-to’ people to help providers manage their community benefit funds and, in fact, our sister community foundation in Scotland, manages over 40 on behalf of wind farms across Scotland. Sussex Community Foundation is delighted to have been asked by Rampion to manage their community benefit fund, here in Sussex.
Earlier this week, Rampion announced a £4 million fund which will include supporting organisations working for the benefit of the people of Sussex, within an area stretching from Littlehampton harbour in the west to Beachy Head in the east and up to the A272 near Twineham in the north close to the wind farm’s onshore substation.
It will support projects that benefit the broad community, in particular those with links to environment and ecology, climate change and energy, and improved community facilities – and priority will be given to projects which benefit disadvantaged people and communities.
Sussex Community Foundation will manage distribution of £3.1 million of the fund. £2 million will be available to support eligible community projects, with a proportion being invested as an endowment fund for the long-term benefit of Sussex communities. A further £500,000 will be available to support eligible community projects in the East Worthing and Lancing communities. A further £300,000 will be available to support eligible community projects in the designated area south of the A272 where the electrical substation is situated. A further £300,000 will be available to support sea-user organisations.
The Fund is open to charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations and grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available, with higher grants of up to £50,000 for larger capital projects. For more information, an application form and more detailed criteria, visit www.sussexgiving.org.uk/rampion or call 01273 409440.