The Green Backyard is celebrating after receiving £12,500 in funding from M&S Energy towards an innovative solar-powered community project.
M&S Energy launched its £400,000 M&S Energy Community Energy Fund in July, offering grants to support renewable energy projects and technologies across the UK.
After securing 1,185 public votes, community garden The Green Backyard was declared a regional winner - receiving a grant for £12,500 - which will fund the installation of solar panels on the roof of its community café once construction of the building is completed.
The café will be made from re-purposed shipping containers, and by installing solar panels the building will be able to generate its own energy across the site to keep volunteer areas lit and provide power for special events.
Sophie Antonelli, co-founder of The Green Backyard, said: “We are ecstatic to be one of the winners of the M&S Energy Fund.
“Currently The Green Backyard doesn’t use any form of energy so the solar panels will mean that despite the light levels dropping during the darker months, the community can still use the garden as well as the café.
“For the first time we will also be able to utilise teaching-aids such as projectors to help individuals and groups, as well as various schools, businesses and other organisations from across Peterborough to learn new skills.
“The team here at The Green Backyard would like to thank not only M&S Energy but the local community for all their support throughout the project which has ultimately ensured the continuity and success of the centre.”
Jonathan Hazeldine, head of M&S Energy, added: “We were absolutely delighted with the number of entries we received for the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund and it was brilliant to see communities coming together in support of renewable energy projects in their area – we received over 51,000 votes in total.
“We have a very worthy list of 26 winners from a whole range of projects which all exemplify the innovative approach communities across the UK are taking to generating their own energy.”
In total, 19 projects across the breadth of the UK won up to £12,500 and two projects won national prizes of £20,000 and £40,000.
A total of 51,000 votes were cast as projects campaigned to help get their renewable energy projects off the ground.
There were also a series of ‘Judge’s Prize’ awards for projects that were shortlisted based on their innovative approach and positive impact on the local community.