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Last week we announced the winners of the 2018 M&S Energy Community Energy Fund, an annual competition that sees M&S encourage community groups to ‘go green’ with a £10,000 investment in renewable technology up for grabs.

Working with our partner Crowdfunder, we shortlisted 9 projects from across the UK, all of whom were pitching for our funding to help transform their local communities into green energy generators. We were wowed by the ingenuity and creativity on display from all 9 projects.

But, in a change to the competition format of previous years there could only be two winners! In the past winners were chosen based on public votes but this year we wanted to recognise the projects’ hard work fundraising to make their idea a reality. We created two separate prizes -  each £5,000 - one to recognise the project that gained the most public support and the other awarded to the project that raised the most money fundraising.

The outcome was amazing, all nine projects collectively raised over £54,000! The winning project alone, Renewable Energy for Amersham Band's new Bandroom, secured £14,834 in fundraising, a commendable achievement.

However, competition was fierce and hot on their heels was The School Wasteland to Wonderland Project, from Wickhambreaux near Canterbury, who raised £7,544 for their local energy project. In the end they came top of the leader board for the most public votes, with over 500 people pledging their support – a true community effort!  

In a new turn of events, this year’s competition even attracted the attention and funding of two local authorities, Cornwall County Council and Dorset County Council who granted a total of £2,250 from funds set aside for the community to a handful of projects. It was fantastic to see the community, the council and M&S working together as one to support entrepreneurial community projects and bring renewable energy to the masses. It’s brought us even more excitement as to what the competition holds next year!

Next year it could it be you and your project. Register your interest now to be part of the movement: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/...