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Redcar Hydrogen Community Charity Awards. 17.11.2023 Photograph: Stuart Boulton

Gas distributor, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), who are developing a proposal to heat parts of Redcar with locally produced, low carbon hydrogen from 2025 contributed £35,000 and a further £20,000 was made available from British Gas, who are supporting the proposal.

Redcar charities and organisations were invited to bid for Redcar Hydrogen Community Fund grants of up to £5,000, to support projects making a positive change to the local community.

Representatives of the successful groups joined judges Jacob Young MP, local council leader Alec Brown, Carolos Vidalis from British Gas and Jessie Baguley from Redcar and Cleveland College in NGN’s Hydrogen Hub last week. The successful bids were:

  • The Good Life Community Project, £4,218 – supporting The Good Life Winter Wonderland allotment, for residents coping with loneliness, isolation and mental health difficulties.
  • In Harmony Food Revolution £2,154 – delivering weekly training sessions to learn how to grow food, while combatting social isolation and fresh food poverty.
  • The Shed Redcar £3,000 – training in practical skills, including use of tools for people experiencing mental health problems, physical disabilities, young people, those on probation or using drug and alcohol services.
  • Redcar Baptist Church £1,650 – providing a weekly lunch club and ‘warm space’ for isolated members of the Coatham community managing financial hardship.
  • Redcar Rugby Club £3,000 – to develop additional playing surfaces for new women and girls’ teams.
  • The Imaginarium Creative Studios £3,000 – offering weekly creative sessions, including a hot meal for every child.
  • Friends of Locke Park £1,441 – providing volunteers with gardening tools to expand and create sensory garden beds and build bug hotels to enhance the visitor experience.
  • The Junction Foundation £2,492 – supporting young carers and young adult carers by giving them an opportunity to improve their wellbeing, reduce isolation and gain peer support in a safe environment.
  • Redcar Community Grocery £3,000 – providing volunteers with the horticultural skills to grow their own food and ornamental plants.
  • Kirkleatham Together £3,000 – providing volunteers with the horticultural skills to grow their own food and ornamental plants.
  • Ladies of Steel £2,100 – ‘Christmas Cracker’ supporting children from broken homes to have a magical Christmas experience.
  • Friends of Zetland Parks £3,000 – renovating the park shelter, allowing it to be used for group exercise activities, and installing a public education weather station.
  • Teesside Athletic FC £2,346 – supporting two weekly sessions for people with low self-esteem or at risk of self-harm, plus access a professional mental health counsellor.
  • Tees Valley Women’s Centre £1,296 – providing transport to the Tees Valley Women’s Centre, which offers a warm and safe space for local women, plus learning and leisure opportunities.
  • South Gare Litter Pickers £3,000 – Storing the trolley purchased from the 2022 community fund and buying further equipment to help with litter picking.
  • Power of Women £3,000 – funding sessions, for year 5 and 6 students in conjunction with local and national businesses to expose young people to the world of work and opportunity.
  • Kirkleatham PCC £2,932 – Continuing the ‘exercise on chairs’ project to give older people an opportunity to get out of their home, stay active and socialise.
  • The Chris Cave Foundation £3,000 – Enabling young people, aged 14 – 18, to join a three-week project to highlight the risks and repercussions of violent crime and exploitation, and the opportunities for apprenticeships.
  • Whippet Up £2,562 – supporting socially isolated residents to create ‘People’s Palaces’, a large lantern structure, which will be displayed at the Nightfall Festival.
  • Redcar Development Trust £4,800 – funding extra heating to help boost attendance and increase usage of Coatham Memorial Hall during winter.

Eileen Brown, Customer Experience Director at Northern Gas Networks, said: “There was a huge amount of interest in the Redcar Hydrogen Community Fund from the many groups around Redcar who are doing incredible things to support their town and the people who live here – we saw a doubling of applications for this year’s funding.

“We’re delighted to support the successful organisations, who were able to clearly demonstrate how they are making a positive difference to the lives of local people and how the funding will boost this support further.  We are looking to support even more of the fantastic local organisations that applied through our Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide allowance funding and through volunteering activities with our colleagues at British Gas”.

Carolos Vidalis, Hydrogen Director at British Gas said: “The depth and breadth of the work local groups in Redcar are carrying out is truly impressive. Their contribution to the community is brilliant and I’m proud that we can play a part in supporting those who make such a big impact. I have no doubt these awards will help amplify the positive difference they’re making.”

Paul Hyde, Whippet Up CIC said: “Support for Whippet Up will help us develop as a Social Enterprise, the funds will help our Creative Health groups work with artists to create light structures for festivals. Our Creative Health groups support people with a range of mental health issues and long-term conditions.’

Matt Stilwell, South Gare Litter Pickers added: “The £3000 we’ve received from The Hydrogen Community Fund will enable South Gare Litter Pickers to continue our work through 2024. One of our biggest overheads is the rent on our lock up and this money will see this covered for the next year. We use the lock up to store our trailer, four trolleys, PPE and litter picking equipment. The remainder of the money is to be divided up and spent towards our next goal, which is to purchase and distribute 100 litter pickers and bag hoops within our local community to create an army of litter collectors as well as some funds going towards tools and volunteer incidental costs. We’d like to thank The Hydrogen Community Fund for supporting us yet again in our fight against litter.”


  • To learn more about the Redcar Hydrogen Community visit the project website at
  • The Ofgem Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Awareness funding stream is a £60 million fund provided by energy regulator Ofgem for the RIIO-GD2 price control period. The fund allows gas network operators to go beyond activities funded through regulatory price control mechanisms or licence obligations. VMCA projects must meet strict eligibility criteria to qualify and have a focus on vulnerability, carbon monoxide awareness or energy efficiency.

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You can contact Northern Gas Networks’ press office on: 0113 322 7950 during office hours (between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays) or call the out of hours service on 0113 322 7978 at any other time.