A FORMER MP’s assistant has been recruited to work with the local community on the Knockendurrick wind farm project.
Jeannie Kielty is used to listening to all manner of questions and issues that are raised by constituents and will now use her expertise to help the Dumfries & Galloway community understand more about the project and how it can benefit them and the area as a whole.
The 26 year-old has joined wind energy expert, Banks Renewables, as Development Relations Officer following a four-year stint as Parliamentary Assistant to Ian Mearns MP.
The Hamilton-based company has submitted plans to create Knockendurrick Wind Farm by erecting seven turbines east of Gatehouse of Fleet.
Jeannie, who also volunteers as a girl-guide leader and school governor in her spare time, is now looking forward to meeting people, business leaders and politicians to help explain the renewable energy project and the associated benefits in detail.
Jeannie said: “Listening to, and working with, local constituents was a large part of my previous job.
“The majority of the time I was able to work directly with the constituents in order to make positive changes locally and it was extremely rewarding to see the difference I could make to people’s lives.”
Banks Renewables has committed to sharing 15-20 per cent of the total construction cost to be spent on contracts with local firms, boosting the local economy by approximately £5m and creating employment opportunities in the area.
During the construction of the wind farm, contracts will be required for a variety of jobs including construction and maintenance, ground works, quarry and building products, plant hire and haulage, waste solutions, fabrication, aggregates, utilities, professional services and hospitality.
Jeannie is passionate about the environment and the benefits of green energy, but also understands that not everyone in the local community may share the same views.
Despite this, she is looking forward to discussing the various issues and benefits, at greater length with the local community and adding to the 500 people who have already pledged their support for Knockendurrick Wind Farm.
She continued: “It’s absolutely essential that projects such as these are run in the correct manner and that’s why I jumped at the chance to join Banks.
“They have demonstrated across the UK that they work with the local communities on these projects, helping to explain it in greater detail, outlining the benefits, outsourcing the work to local contractors and even helping to fund community projects.”
Jeannie will be working with Callum Whiteford, who has the same role at Banks Renewables and has discussed the project widely in the community and run several ‘meet the buyer’ events where local businesses could find out more about how to get involved in the project.
ABOUT BANKS COMMUNITY FUND
The Banks Community Fund has also been put to good use in the area with vital grants awarded to Kirkcudbright Swimming Pool and one of the town’s oldest football clubs, St Cuthbert Wanderers.
The fund provides support for projects which show a community-wide public benefit. Since its beginnings it has granted £2.6 million in grants and benefited more than 80,000 people across the UK.
Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “Working closely with the local community throughout the development process has helped us connect with many local people”.
“Jeannie’s expertise from her previous role and her passion for the project will help a great deal in the local area and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact we know she will make.”
Banks Renewables has extensive experience of working in partnership with local communities across Scotland and the United Kingdom to successfully design and develop new energy schemes and deliver a range of local economic, social and environmental benefits, tailored to their individual community needs.
Similar projects by the family–owned firm have resulted in the creation of jobs and training initiatives, provision of community infrastructure, and funding of environmental projects and community groups.
Full details about the Knockendurrick Wind Farm can be found at the dedicated website.
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks’ proposed Knockendurrick wind farm that are look for capital funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund to see if their project is eligible on 0191 378 6342 or visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/development-with-care/bankscommunityfund.
Banks Renewables is part of the Banks Group (www.banksgroup.co.uk), a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs more than 420 people in the renewable energy, property and mining sectors.
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