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A bright future for Harry’s Hydro

Harry’s Hydro Appeal, based in Frome, is celebrating after receiving over £10,000 in funding from M&S Energy to fund the installation of solar panels to heat the local hydrotherapy facility.

M&S Energy launched its £400,000 M&S Energy Community Energy Fund in July, offering grants to support renewable energy projects and technologies across the UK.

Harry’s Hydro won one of five judges’ prizes, awarded to those projects the judges thought to be the most innovative and with the greatest positive impact on the local community.

The judging panel, which included Ed Davey, chairman of Mongoose Energy, Giles Bristow, of Forum for the Future, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, a long term advocate of community energy projects, commended Harry’s Hydro for the valuable service it provides to improve the quality of life for those living with physical, sensory, learning and profound multiple difficulties.

The hydrotherapy centre offers a number of significant benefits, including relief from pain, muscle spasms, improved balance, co-ordination and posture. By allowing clients to move freely with little or no pain, hydrotherapy provides crucial opportunities for development, exercise, relaxation, and important group and social interaction.

For users to receive the full benefits, the water must be heated to 34.5°C and the air to over 25°C, which requires a large energy expenditure, and high running costs for the facility. By installing solar panels on the roof, Harry’s Hydro will be able to generate its own thermal energy, significantly reducing operating costs. The money saved will enable to charity to further extend its services to benefit more local residents. Installation will take place mid-December.

Harry’s Hydro founder Paula Fox said, “We support hundreds of local people every month and the cost of heating the hydrotherapy pool is one of our main challenges. By installing the solar thermal system, we will be able to greatly reduce our running costs, and as a result employ an extra specialist hydrotherapist to support disabled children, as well as extend our opening to seven days a week.

“Furthermore, the transition from fossil fuels to solar energy will help Frome as a whole work towards its goal of becoming a ‘One Planet Valley’, assisting the local community in its wider sustainability objectives.

“We are extremely grateful to M&S Energy for providing us with this additional funding.”

Jonathan Hazeldine, head of M&S Energy added, “We were absolutely delighted with the number of entries we received for the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund and it was brilliant to see communities coming together in support of renewable energy projects in their area – we received over 51,000 votes in total. We have a very worthy list of 26 winners from a whole range of projects, which all exemplify the innovative approach communities across the UK are taking to generating their own energy.”

In total, five projects were awarded a ‘Judge’s Prize’ award, based on their innovative approach and positive impact on the local community. In addition, there were 19 ‘regional winners’ across the breadth of the UK, each receiving up to £12,500, and two projects won national prizes of £20,000 and £40,000. A total of 51,000 public votes were cast as projects campaigned to help get their renewable energy projects off the ground.

For further information about the M&S Community Energy Fund visit