The heat is on: New heating system for Fulwell Community Library

A popular community library in Sunderland has received funding to replace the libraries outdated heating system, saving almost 50% on their energy bill.

Fullwell Community Library, which is open 22 hours every week and has been ran solely by volunteers for the last three years, has secured almost £20,000 grant funding from our Empower Sunderland scheme and Sunderland City Council.

The library, which is funded primarily through grants and donations as well as sales from their community café which sells cakes and hot drinks, has used the grant to combat their extortionate fuel bill. The updated heating system has helped to reduce it's major £7,000 a year heating bill. 

Since installing the new system late last year the library has saved almost £2,000 on it's gas and electric bills in comparison to the previous year’s bills.

The money saved will be reinvested into the wide range of groups and activities the library is home to, including quiz nights, craft clubs and other community groups.

The new heating system also provides much needed investment into the building itself, helping to secure it's infrastructure for years to come.

Funding from Empower Sunderland is generated following the mass installation of solar panels on our properties across Sunderland. Funding is supplied from Empower, following the sale of our feed-in tariff income in 2015.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Gentoo Group, said:

“Places like Fullwell Community Library are vital community assets and I am delighted that we are able to provide funding and support for the library through the Empower Sunderland Community Fund.

“This project is a brilliant example of how community organisations can have a positive impact on the whole community and its local residents, and by providing support and funding to the volunteers we hope to help maintain and secure the future of the building for years to come.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said:

“The work that Fulwell Library does is incredibly beneficial to its residents, which is why I am delighted that we, as a council, have provided this grant with Empower Sunderland.

“Due to the previous heating system, the community led library was spending unnecessary money on bills. The investment will save that money in the long run to support the delivery of vital social and educational activities, which we hope will encourage more people to come and use the library. The aim is to ensure that they will be able to provide their outstanding services for many more years.”

Richard Beck from Fulwell Community Library said:

“We are really grateful for the support we have been shown by Empower Sunderland and the city council and this funding is brilliant news for the future of the library.

“We provide a welcoming place for residents to come and by spending less money on bills we have more money to spend on the events and groups we run, keeping us at the heart of the community.”

Sunderland City Council's North Area Committee provided a grant of £11, 800 while our Empower Sunderland Community Fund provided the additional £9219.60 to complete the upgrades. 

Empower Sunderland’s Community funding is generated by Empower Community Solar PV panels that are on the roofs of our properties across the city. The fund is designed to help reduce energy consumption or increase the amount of renewable energy used by community projects across Sunderland, with funding available to voluntary and community organisations that operate in the city.

You can find out more about the Empower grants and how to apply here: