Western Isles Development Trust Ltd (WIDT) is a community based organisation established to invest income from local renewable energy generation schemes in the wider island community.
While community or private landowners stand to benefit, in the first instance, from community benefit payments arising from renewable energy installations on their own land, WIDT exists to ensure that a proportion of that benefit is distributed across the wider Western Isles community, from the Butt to Barra.
The first tranche of community benefit monies has now been lodged with WIDT and the company’s directors, drawn from local agencies, community bodies and the general membership of WIDT, will soon be considering applications for funding.
WIDT is a registered scottish charity and, to be eligible for support, applications must come from constituted organisations and must meet one or more of the charitable aims of the trust. Those include: relief of poverty, advancement of education, advancement of citizenship, advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science, and, environmental protection or improvement.
In the longer term, WIDT will be licenced to offer loans but, in the short term, funding will be available in the form of grants up to a ceiling of £10,000 and at an intervention rate of 50%.
WIDT chair, Angus Campbell, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for communities throughout the islands to benefit from renewable energy developments.”
Downloadable initial enquiry forms, eligibility guidance and more information about the trust will be available from www.widt.co.uk when the website goes live on Tuesday 14th April 2015.