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Energy savings in store for Smarden

A new Kent community store is to benefit from installing solar panels, extra insulation and the community’s first publicly available electric vehicle charging point.

From Press releases - 4 November 2019 12:00 AM

Energy savings in store for Smarden.jpg

Electricity firm UK Power Networks has awarded £14,300 to enable Smarden’s new store to save an estimated £2,600 annually in energy costs, with profits to be ploughed back into local charities, store improvements and social causes.

Smarden’s 1,400 residents currently have no convenience store and this, plus the lack of frequent bus links to local shops, were the main reasons for plans to build a new community store with Post Office, café, toilet and baby change area. Overwhelming local support saw more than 300 people purchase shares in the community enterprise and more than 50 volunteers registered to work in the shop once it is built and open.

Construction started in October and the store will open in early 2020, providing an inviting social meeting place, along with the shop and Post Office services, which will also help local businesses.

Hilary Fitzsimons, from Smarden Store Ltd, said: “We are grateful to UK Power Networks for funding these improvements which will not only help us to reduce our carbon footprint but also cut our running costs and keep the café and shop warm and comfortable while making it more sustainable.

“The store will also showcase environmental best practice, demonstrating the significant energy and waste savings which are possible. We hope that having a vehicle charging point available in the village will be a positive factor in people’s decision-making as more people choose electric vehicles.”

Veronika Karailieva, stakeholder engagement manager for UK Power Networks, said: “We are delighted to support the energy improvements at Smarden Store. Apart from the environmental benefits, the financial savings made will boost the viability of services which can help this community to thrive while making the building warm and comfortable for visitors.
“This is one of the 24 community projects this year which have benefited from a share of £368,060 from our Power Partners community fund to alleviate fuel poverty, support people in vulnerable circumstances and make community buildings warmer and cheaper to heat across our regions.”

Power Partners is administered in partnership with leading energy justice charity, the Centre for Sustainable Energy. It opens for more applications in February 2020. For details on how to apply visit: