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Drax Foundation gives £500K to boost STEM education, support communities and reduce energy poverty

19 June 2024

  • New funding will go to seven projects that are sited near to where Drax Group operates in England and Scotland
  • Latest donation of over £500k will support 3,600 vulnerable people with their energy bills, enable 3,100 children to access STEM education, and help 240 schools become more energy efficient. 

The Drax Foundation, the charitable entity of renewable energy company Drax Group (Drax), has donated £505,070 to seven non-profit organisations across the regions where it operates in England and Scotland.

Shona King, Drax’s Head of Community, said: “The Drax Foundation has a proud track record of giving back to the communities where we operate. This latest round of donations will make a tangible difference to communities in England and Scotland. The projects we are supporting range from restoring ancient hedgerows in Northampton to helping young people from rural communities in Argyll to build their Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills.”

The Drax Foundation operates in the UK, USA and Canada. It is focused on funding initiatives that deliver education and skills development in STEM, those that improve green spaces and enhance biodiversity within local communities and improve access to renewable energy and energy efficiency in areas of low social mobility.

Shona continued: “Last year we launched the Drax Foundation and we are excited about the opportunity to build on the progress we have made to ensure that more people can develop their STEM skills, have access to quality local green spaces, and be lifted out of fuel poverty through access to affordable renewable energy, and energy efficiency measures”.

England:

In England, the Foundation has donated a total of £227,002 across three projects including:

  • Canal & River Trust, £27,500, Northampton: The Canal & River Trust is the charity looking after 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales. The Foundation’s funding will enable the Trust to run a programme restoring ancient hedgerows in Northampton, mobilising a volunteer programme including training in hedge laying techniques.
  • Energy Sparks, £150,000, England: Energy Sparks, is an energy education charity. The Foundation’s funding will increase the number of schools which can access Energy Sparks free of charge.  Energy Sparks works with schools and pupils to understand energy usage and saving through real life data from their school.
  • Project: WILD C.I.C, £49,502, Selby: Project: WILD C.I.C is a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to addressing declining biodiversity in Yorkshire and supporting young people with mental illnesses. The Foundation’s funding will see the social enterprise deliver its 'Eco Leaders' project to increase understanding of local green spaces with young people in the Selby area.

Scotland:

In Scotland, the Foundation has donated a total of £178,068 across three projects including:  

  • Argyll & the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust (ACT), £40,556, Argyll: ACT exists to sustainably maintain, enhance and promote the coast and countryside of Argyll and the Isles. The Foundation’s funding will help the Trust increase their nature-based STEM learning for rural children, and provide training for local teachers.
  • Argyll, Lomond & the Islands Energy Efficiency Agency (ALIenergy), £100,000, Argyll: ALIenergy works to promote sustainable energy use and renewable energy generation, to address fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. The Foundation’s funding will pay for one of the organisation’s experienced affordable warmth advisors for a year and fund one Education Officer staff costs for a year to deliver STEM education to schools.
  • Kirkcudbright Dark Space Ltd, £37,512, Dumfries & Galloway:  Kirkcudbright Dark Space operates a planetarium in Kirkcudbright which hosts space focused science and technology exhibitions. The Foundation’s funding will fund the planetarium’s education coordinator role and increase the number of schools being able to access the site alongside supporting with some maintenance costs.

Alongside its donations in England and Scotland the Foundation is providing £100,000 to the Fuel Bank Foundation which will support 3,600 vulnerable people across the UK with help with their energy bills and advice on energy efficiency measures.

Drax Foundation funding is available for organisations ranging from smaller community-led projects to larger grants of up to £100,000 for established non-profit organisations.

Priority is given to organisations that deliver programmes for under-served and under-represented groups, advance gender equality and support indigenous communities.

Organisations and initiatives that meet Drax’s funding and selection criteria are encouraged to visit www.drax.com/community to learn more about the Foundation and submit an initial expression of interest. The Foundation is already accepting applications for 2024’s second round of funding.