SCHOOLCHILDREN will benefit from a grant given by an energy company.

A multi-use games area is to be built at Benfieldside Primary School, near Consett after the scheme was awarded an £8,125 grant from a fund set up by windfarm operators EDF Energy Renewables.

The money has been awarded to the Benfieldside, Blackhill, Bridgehill and Shotley Bridge Community Partnership to create a space near the school for formal and informal games.

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Organisers say the games facility will improve the health of local children and help address many of the problems faced by the area including anti-social behaviour and a lack of areas to socialise and interact for young people.

The grant is the first to be awarded by the company’s community benefit fund, set up when it opened a three-turbine wind farm nearby at Boundary Lane, in Northumberland.

The company has committed to contribute at least £12,300 per year for the operational life of the windfarm, to be spent on good causes in the area.

County Durham Community Foundation, who manages the fund, will distribute grants of between £500 and £5,000 to community groups within a three-mile radius of the wind farm, which includes the villages of Snods Edge, Stocksfield, Chopwell, and Medomsley.

EDF Energy Renewables’ Head of Asset Management Nick Bradford said: “We take a long-term approach to the wind farms we develop - we see ourselves as part of the communities in which we operate, not just today but also for the future.

“Our aim is to support local communities and we’re pleased to be able to do so through funds such as the one we’ve set up for Boundary Lane”.

Any groups within the area of benefit that would like to apply for a grant should fill in the Community Foundation’s online application form at