Sofia fund open for community groups in East Cleveland

Applicants now sought for Sofia Construction Community Fund managed by Tees Valley Community Foundation

  • 19 April 2021

Launch of fund managed by Tees Valley Community Foundation

Community groups and charities in East Cleveland are set to benefit from the launch of a new grant fund thanks to support from RWE Renewable’s Sofia Offshore Wind Farm.

The £150,000 fund will be managed and distributed by Tees Valley Community Foundation (TVCF) on behalf of Sofia, the 1.4GW wind farm located on Dogger Bank in the North Sea, 195 kilometres off the North East coast.

Power generated by Sofia, which is 100% owned by RWE Renewables, will be brought to shore between Redcar and Marske-by-the-Sea in Teesside, with the wind farm’s new converter station near the village of Lazenby shortly due to start construction. The Sofia team aims to provide a positive contribution to the community where it will undertake building works for the next four years, and has engaged TVCF to support this ambition.

Hugh McGouran, CEO at TVCF says the Sofia Construction Community Fund will be available to community groups and charities serving residents living close to the project’s onshore electrical infrastructure including Marske-by-the-Sea, New Marske, Yearby, Wilton Village, Kirkleatham, Lazenby, Old Lackenby, South Lackenby, Whale Hill, Eston, Grangetown and Redcar East.

“We’re delighted to announce details of this fund, thanks to the generous support from Sofia Offshore Wind Farm,” said Mr McGouran. “Grant applications are invited from any constituted groups working across the area of benefit, but there will be particular interest in applications that address local community issues such as social isolation or the effects of poverty, and projects that improve the environment or support sustainability.”

Although applicants do not have to be registered charities, all applicant groups must have an appropriate constitution or governing document, and demonstrate they comply with all relevant safeguarding requirements for the activity for which they are seeking funding. 

Mr McGouran urged anyone who finds that the requirements are a barrier to application to get in touch with TVCF as they may be able to help applicants fulfil the requirements to enable them to apply.

Sofia’s Project Director Matthew Swanwick said the project team hopes the fund will provide a valuable contribution to the local community by facilitating worthy projects or initiatives that may otherwise not have been able to go ahead without additional financial support.

“We look forward to working with TVCF over the coming years and encourage any local groups with a concept for a worthy project to get in touch with them to discuss their proposals,” he said.

TVCF’s mission is to empower local communities to address disadvantage and exclusion - it has distributed more than £35m to more than one million beneficiaries in the past 30 years. Its work is recognised as being more valuable than ever given the negative social, economic and community impacts of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.

Interested applicants should go to the TVCF website  and follow the “apply for a grant” links specifying the ‘Sofia Offshore Wind Farm Construction Community Fund’. Organisations requiring any help or support with their application can contact them on email: with their enquiries.