It’s fair to say that the facilities for visitors at Westmill are basic, and the lack of shelter on our exposed site largely limits our guided tours to the warmer months. The lack of proper toilet and handwashing facilities also restricts what we can do, especially with our younger visitors.
We believe our work is important in educating and enthusing the public about renewable energy and the fight against climate change. We’d like to have more visitors and to offer them a better visit especially at this point in time where interest is building as concern about climate change rises.
So we are planning to build the ‘Westmill Centre’ to welcome our guest and visitors. Our plan includes a ‘yurt’ – a permanent canvas based structure big enough to hold a primary school class – and a small composting toilet block as well as improved access facilities.
The Westmill Centre will provide much-needed shelter and toilets, as well as improving the safety of the site entrance for coaches. The site will also be made more accessible, with disabled parking and a disabled toilet. We rely on a dedicated group of volunteer guides, and the new facilities will make their job more comfortable and rewarding. Finally, we envisage the Westmill Centre providing a unique space for like-minded organisations to use for training and events.
We have planning permission and we have raised much of the money from a rural development grant scheme. But we need to raise more to make the Westmill Centre a reality.
We have already been very successful in raising over 70% of the £183,000 budget needed. We have £91,600 from LEADER with additional funding from WeSET, Westmill Solar Coop and Westmill Windfarm Coop. We also have full planning permission, and have allowed for all the additional costs imposed by Planning Regulations for a centre such as this.
However, until we have all the funds in place we cannot proceed with the build, scheduled to start in just a few months. Furthermore, there are some urgent constraints on our time – LEADER funding is set to finish this year, so we can neither delay nor reapply if we do not raise the full amount this spring. We believe this is a one time only opportunity to make our vision for the Westmill Centre a reality.
Would you like to help us make this happen? This is a not an investment with a financial return, but it is an investment for all of our futures. With this new Centre we can offer more and better visits and see more children inspired by the turbine and the panels.
We truly believe the Westmill Centre will offer a great educational resource. The flat, accessible site offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with wind turbines and solar panels. At this time of climate emergency, our planned improvements to road safety, toilets and a warm space will allow us to make even better use of this great site, demonstrating to our visitors the power of community owned renewable energy.
Please visit our Virgin Giving page and give generously.