UK Wind Week

Sheringham Shoal offshore Windfarm at sunset

Wind powers Norfolk Communities – in more ways than one

Windmills have been part of the Norfolk landscape for hundreds of years. They’ve pumped water to drain the land for growing food, they’ve ground wheat to make bread, and now they are harnessing the ancient power of the wind to generate electricity for homes across Norfolk. The east of England plays a leading role in UKs wind powered energy production, and is home to over 52% of the UK’s installed capacity for Offshore Wind.

Today (25/10/2021) marks the start UK Wind Week and, ahead of COP26, we at the Norfolk Community Foundation are looking towards a more sustainable future. We are proud to work with Sheringham Shoal, Dudgeon, Weston, North Pickenham, Jack’s Lane Wind Farm and Chiplow wind farm, who all help us to fund grassroots community projects. Some of these projects were listed in our recent Spotlight on a sustainable future report.

Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon wind farms have well-established community funds that collectively give around £200,000 a year to deserving groups across Norfolk. During the pandemic operator of both wind farms, Equinor, stepped up its efforts, releasing additional funding that went directly to Norfolk communities when they needed it the most.

Karl Butler, Equinor’s Plant Manager for Dudgeon offshore wind farm, said: We’ve been operating out of Norfolk for a decade; our staff are from here, our kids go to school here and so we really do feel part of the community. It’s great to work for an organisation that is able to give so much back to the local area. Each wind farm donates £100,000 every year to worthwhile projects that make a tangible difference in the community. It makes me feel proud to have a job that is not only helping to combat climate change, but also contributing in the community too.

In total, the wind farms have given away well in excess of £1.8 million to Norfolk communities over the last decade. Here are the stories of just two of the groups who’ve benefitted from their contributions.

A woman sits behind a desk looking at multiple computer screens.
The control room at Great Yarmouth where Equinor’s UK wind farms are operated from

Dudgeon + Every Child Online

A child uses a tablet comupter

Dudgeon made a grant of £100,000 to our Every Child Online initiative, ensuring that 6,000 young people in Norfolk has access to the digital technology to allow them to learn from home during lockdown.

“It is vitally important that every young person has access to the technology that will enable them to progress their studies, and particularly their STEM subjects, from their home environment,” said Sonja Chirico Indrebø, Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm Power Plant Manager, “When the Norfolk Community Foundation explained that Norfolk’s schools and academies needed to supply around 6,000 devices so that young people in Norfolk could have the technology for successful home learning, the team here at Dudgeon Offshore Wind in Great Yarmouth of course wanted to support this Norfolk County Council/Norfolk Community Foundation campaign.”

Sheringham Shoal + Hawk and Owl Trust

Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve set itself the ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by the end of this year. Thanks to a Sheringham Shoal Community Fund Grant from the Norfolk Community Foundation, the Hawk and Owl Trust have been able to install a new off-grid education hide powered by solar panels, a highly efficient air source heating and air conditioning for the main office, and electric vehicle charging points in the car park – some of the only ones in West Norfolk.

The wooden Education Hide being erected