The Innovation Fund has supported Jasmine Road Gardens with their solar energy idea. Support from the fund has given them green energy advice from a Dudley expert and funds to purchase and install a battery and 13 solar panels for the gardens.
The solar energy helps to power the house and gardens. During the longer days electricity is even returned back to the grid allow the gardens to receive some money in buy back.
The electricity converted from the solar panels also powers the offices, a kitchen used for community meals and social room.
Electricity bills have on average reduced by 75% compared to the previous years. This has stimulated thoughts around efficiency and sustainability. Project volunteers are just completing a water collection and reclamation system, the users will use this to irrigate their crops.
These savings have allowed money to be directed into expanding existing programmes and developing new innovative ideas.
The funding also allowed the gardens to renovate one of their polytunnels and replace another. They used the skills learned during the regular Voluntary Sector Innovation Fund engagement sessions to work with their volunteers and the local community. They decided the layout and contents of the new polytunnel. Following this they have installed a little kitchenette and build an area where visitors can grow and display unusual varieties of plants The tunnels will host tutorials in the future.