A CHARITABLE trust is to be set up to manage a pot of money given to the village of Casterton by its local school.

Residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of using the cash, raised through the use of solar panels by the Casterton Sedbergh Prepar-atory School, to help local people and organisations under the name ‘Casterton Community Trust’.

“This was a well-attended meeting and it was a village decision to go ahead with the trust,” said Coun Enid Hastings, chair of Casterton Parish Council.

“It could be fantastic for the village over a long period of time and it could really help a lot of people, so it was a great decision.”

The solar panels were installed at the school after the village won a British Gas competition to help make it more ‘green’.

As well as producing energy the panels will attract a ‘feed-in tariff’ from the government, of which 50 per cent has been pledged for community use.

It is estimated this will total around £1,500 per year, although the amount will fluctuate depending on how much energy is produced.

At the public meeting the parish council – which sought legal advice on the matter – put forward the idea of a charitable trust, while others suggested using the money to help vulnerable people in the parish or to set up a credit union.

The money can now be used to help community groups, projects or indivi-duals.

“It’s a very generous donation from the school,” added Coun Hastings.

“Now we’re waiting for nominations for trustees to manage the fund and we also hope people will suggest beneficiaries.”

Any village resident over the age of 18 can be nominated as a trustee of the Casterton Community Trust. Forms have been distributed throughout the village.