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The offshore wind farm ‘powering’ a King’s Lynn homeless shelter

Winter Night Shelter volunteers said the £10,000 donation ensured it would be able to open later this year

A King’s Lynn homelessness charity will reopen later this year thanks to a £10,000 grant from a major offshore wind farm project.

The Winter Night Shelter is to benefit from the East Coast Community Fund set up by Danish company Ørsted, which operates the Race Bank wind farm in the North Sea, to support community and environmental initiatives along the Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and North Norfolk coasts.

The shelter opens every night of the week from the beginning of November until the end of March, accommodating and providing meals for up to 23 people who would otherwise be forced to sleep rough

Andrew Frere-Smith, a spokesman for King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter, said: “The £10,000 from the East Coast Community Fund is going to make such a difference.

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The Big Issue magazine is a social enterprise, a business that reinvests its profits in helping others who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or whose lives are blighted by poverty.

“This money will enable us to continue the coordinator’s contract through the summer so she can develop a fundraising committee, maintain contact with partner agencies and mentor some of the clients.

“Without this support we would be back to square one in the Autumn.”

The fund, worth £465,000 each year until 2037, is part of Ørsted’s community engagement programme for its Race Bank and Hornsea Project One projects, the latter of which will become the largest offshore wind farm in the world on its expected completion in 2020.

Combined, these two wind farms will have a combined capacity of nearly 1.8 gigawatts, enough to power more than 1.5 million UK homes.

Emma Toulson, lead stakeholder relations advisor at Ørsted, said the company is “committed to being part of the communities where we build and operate our offshore wind farms.”

She added that the fund was set up to “support programmes and initiatives that can make a real difference to local people”.

Toulson also said: “The King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter is a worthy recipient from the latest round of funding, and is one of 14 projects that have recently received grants. The fund has already donated over £900,000 since 2016, and will continue to run until 2037.”

More than £900,000 has been donated to more than 80 projects since the initiative launched in 2016.

An extra £75,000 is ring-fenced each year for a skills fund, set to boost training and education projects in local communities.

Julian Hallett, a trustee and treasurer for the shelter, said: “Funding in the wintertime is relatively easy when generous people start to feel the cold and Christmas comes. But many people assume that the shelter just goes to sleep over the summer.”

Groups in the area can check their eligibility for an East Coast Community Fund grant here. There are two application rounds each year, with the next closing on August 14.