A MEDIEVAL guest house, a low-carbon housing group and Oxford’s Osney Lock Hydro power plant are getting a share £32,000 EU funding.

The three organisations are the first to benefit from the OxFutures GreenFund of EU cash being run by the city’s Low Carbon Hub.

The Abbey retreat and conference centre at Sutton Courtenay got £2,061 to help make major energy-efficiency upgrades.

Old, difficult-to-control storage heaters will be replaced with modern thermostatic electric wall-mounted heaters; heat loss is being tackled with insulation for lofts and walls and thermal window blinds, and new, efficient LED lighting will save more money.

The Abbey got the cash after first getting the OxFutures team to give its building a free ‘energy audit’ to see how it could cut carbon.

Abbey development manager Linda Hull said: "It’s great to be making such fundamental changes to our energy systems in the guesthouse – not only will we save money but our guests will be even more cosy and we’ll be doing our bit for the environment too.

"The whole audit process helped us to think clearly and we’re absolutely delighted to get funding to make the recommendations a reality."

Hook Norton Low Carbon won £4,500 towards a dream of building 12 low-carbon, affordable houses in the village.

The cash will help to employ a project manager in the feasibility stage of the scheme.

Eventually the group hope to redevelop a small, overgrown village site owned by Cherwell District Council to help meet the area’s housing need.

Osney Lock Hydro, meanwhile, won £16,500 towards a scheme to sell its low-carbon electricity to its nearest neighbours.

Managers are planning to work with not-for-profit group Energy Local to sell power directly to residents on Osney Island.

Working with Low Carbon West Oxford and Co-op Energy they hope to persuade locals of the attraction of cheaper energy and the wider community benefits.

Using the OxFutures cash, Energy Local will undertake technical and legal feasibility work and Low Carbon West Oxford will carry out community engagement.

The Low Carbon Hub won £1.6m from the European Regional Development Fund last year for the OxFutures project.

That was matched by another £1.6m from Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council, Oxford University, Oxford Brookes and Bioregional.

The aim of the scheme is to make Oxfordshire more energy efficient.

It is offering grants to fund development of new products, start-ups and energy-efficiency projects as well as free energy audits and cash to help firms go green.

Low Carbon Hub says the result will be an improvement in air quality in Oxford, a reduction in energy bills and CO2 emissions and a boost to the local economy.

The project will build on the success of the first phase of OxFutures which originated as a partnership between Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council and the hub.

During that first phase, a four-year EU-funded program, £18m of investment was ploughed into local renewable energy and energy-efficient projects.

Businesses interested in applying for grant funding should email the Low Carbon Hub at info@lowcarbonhub.org or call 01865 246099.