One of Wiltshire’s largest not-for-profit energy solar energy enterprises, Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy has appointed a new chairman of its charitable arm.

Jon Bateman from Royal Wootton Bassett replaces Peter Newell, who held the post for five years prior to his departure at the end of 2021.

Retired civil engineer and utility regulation specialist Jon has an in-depth knowledge of the organisation has already facilitated financial aid for several deserving causes in his capacity as director of WWCE and a board member of the Community Fund.

Chairman Julian Barlow said: “I’m delighted that Jon is assuming the role of Chair for WWCE’s community fund. He is an active supporter of the local community and incredibly knowledgeable about environmental conservation and sustainable energy, so he’s the ideal candidate.

"Community energy groups like ours are essential in responding to the climate crisis, and through the Fund we are able to help other climate-focused initiatives to get off the ground which can only benefit Wiltshire and indeed, the planet.”

Established in conjunction with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in 2013, the community fund aims to support local groups involved in wildlife conservation, climate change mitigation, carbon reduction and fuel poverty relief in the county.

To date, it has allocated more than £45,000 to a range of innovative schemes throughout the region.

WWCE develops renewable energy projects to reduce carbon and protect and enhance wildlife habitats and biodiversity. It concentrates on projects that reduce the impact of climate change and increase energy security, while supporting the local economy. It developed two community solar farms at Chelworth and Braydon Manor.

Organisations that might benefit from a grant can email for details.

Surplus funds generated by the solar farms go into a community fund which other community groups in Wiltshire can apply to use