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Unlocking potential for climate action in the northeast

The Vattenfall Unlock our Future Fund has celebrated a landmark five years of community grant making, with a special event in Inverurie last week.

Over the five years of the fund, a total of 67 awards have been made and nearly £645,000 has been allocated to climate smart community projects in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. 

This year – the fund’s fifth – saw 15 projects awarded a total of £161,000. 

The fund is provided by Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Vattenfall and contributes around £150,000 every year for projects working towards a climate smart future. The fund is administered by Foundation Scotland.

This year, awards ranged in scale from £1,700 – awarded to Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre to instal new water fountains – to £30,000 awarded to Blackdog Residents Association to build a new bridge to access the beach from the village. 

Several projects related to energy efficiency improvements for community buildings were given awards, including Camphill School’s zero waste shop retrofitting project, Crathes Public Hall, Glass Community Hall, Tillydrone Community Centre (now run by Granite City Taekwondo), Culter & District Men’s Shed and the Boddam Hub. Energy efficiency improvements will include insulation, LED lighting, solar panels and glazing improvements. All of these will contribute to saving energy, reducing carbon and saving on utility bills, helping groups to keep delivering services in their local area. 

Other awards related to food and growing projects, including funds for a compost toilet, shed with solar panels and a battery for Grey Street Aberdeen Allotment Association, and support for Aberdeen University Students’ Association for a number of sustainable food and active travel initiatives. There were also awards that contributed to electric vehicles, mowers, cargo bikes and LED floodlights for a local football club. 

A key aspect of the event in Inverurie was to give groups time to speak with other volunteers, and to share their learning and experience with others embarking on similar projects. 

Unlock our Future Fund award decisions are made by a panel of volunteers who live and work in the fund area and have a range of skills and experience in the climate and community sector. 

Panel chair, Morag McCorkindale, who hosted the event, said: “The quality of applications for the fund continues to impress.  It is inspiring to see the range and creativity of projects proposed by so many people dedicated to bettering the quality of life and sustainability of their communities.”

Marion McDonald, Community Funds Adviser for Foundation Scotland said: “It was great to be able to bring the groups together, acknowledge all their hard work and give them the chance to make contact with other people working on similar projects.”

The fund will open again in 2024 and groups with project ideas are encouraged to contact Foundation Scotland who administer the fund for advice and support with their application. 

You can contact Marion McDonald on 07912 759524 or email