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Wheel to start turning on Forest Hydroelectricity Project

Events at Dean Heritage Centre

Volunteers and staff at the Dean Heritage Centre have set to work with drills and sledge hammers as they prepare for the installation of a brand new water wheel. Undeterred by the recent changeable weather, they have started to prepare the site in readiness for the arrival of a new wheel and generator from German manufacturers Bega, in early September.
Dedicated to sustainable development, the Centre is looking at numerous ways to improve its carbon footprint and energy performance in order to secure long term sustainability and longevity for future generations.

To accomplish this, the Centre aims to bring its onsite water course into the 21st century with a new water wheel and an induction motor hydropower generator. This will allow the Centre to connect the waterwheel to the national grid and offset the Centre’s increasing annual energy costs. Any excess power generated would then be sold back to the grid hopefully allowing the Centre to achieve self-sustainability and improve its green credentials.

In July, the Centre was awarded £10,000 by the ‘Big Lottery Fund’ towards the secondary phase of the project to develop a key education resource. Benefits included new exciting volunteer opportunities in traditional building skills, a new schools’ programme focusing on the restoration, the waterwheel and use of green technologies, tours and workshops in heritage skills and historic building restoration for adult learners and local volunteers. There are also plans for permanent and temporary green exhibitions on the restoration of historic buildings using green renewable energies and on-site interpretation focusing on green and historic themes.
The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for distributing 40% of all funds raised for good causes by the National Lottery. It funds projects which address the issues, needs and aspirations of local communities and people. It funds a wide range of community projects aimed at developing skills, improving health, revitalising the local environment and enabling people to become more active citizens.
The Centre has also received a donation of £5,000 from the Royal Forest of Dean Rotary Club, and President John Freeman presented Centre Manager with the cheque on Tuesday 20th August.
The Centre would also like to thank JD Norman Industries and Future Advanced Manufactures for their generous support and help preparing the site but further funds are still being sought to complete the project and help cover the costs of the new wheel.
Chairman of trustees, Neil Parkhouse said: “These are very exciting times for the DHC and this is another massive step forward in our five year project to make the Centre financially self-sustaining and to place it at the very heart of the tourist industry in the Forest of Dean. As well as wiping out a percentage of our energy bill, it will also provide us with another popular visitor attraction, one with huge educational benefits and which should be of great interest to local schools. The wheel provides a very visible indication that, under the present management structure, the DHC continues to go from strength to strength.”

Mike Amey, Trustee and joint project manager said: “From a green perspective we will be reducing our carbon footprint and generating around £8000 towards our energy costs per annum.  From an educational view we will have the machinery that is hooked up to the water wheel to show how industry used the power of the water wheel to run machinery.”

If you would like to sponsor the Hydroelectricity project contact or 01594 822170 for more information. There are many benefits to sponsorship including your company’s name and logo prominently displayed by the water wheel, on all promotional literature and the website as well as on all acknowledgements boards and materials at the Centre.

The centre is also looking for volunteers to take part in the project which will provide fantastic experience and transferable skills to those with an interest in engineering and environmental science or simply those who would like to be involved in a valuable project for the local area.

Explore Gloucestershire
28 August 2013

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