British Airways has used its One Destination Carbon Fund to fund the installation of solar panel on the Osprey Leisure Centre near Weymouth. Triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie officially unveiled the solar array, set to help the centre slash its utility bills and carbon footprint.

The Centre is owned and operated by a charitable, not for profit organisation, which took over a former naval sports centre in order to provide sports facilities for the local community.

British Airways’ One Destination Carbon Fund was launched in 2011, replacing the airline’s Carbon Offsetting programme. It enables customers to support low carbon community projects in the UK directly by making a donation.

Ben Ainslie, speaking at an event to mark the opening of the project, said: “I’m thrilled to be back in Weymouth, opening the first Carbon Fund project. We all have our role to play in sustainability and with projects like this one; British Airways is making a real difference to local communities.”

Jonathon Counsell, British Airways’ Head of Environment, said: “The feedback we receive from our customers suggested they wanted to be able to support low carbon projects in the UK. We are delighted to have been able to provide Osprey Leisure Centre with funding, and look forward to contributing to many more low carbon projects.”

Counsell added: “The One Destination Carbon Fund is just one aspect of our environmental strategy. We are committed to reducing our net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, we are investing in new aircraft and technology and we are leading the industry in pressing for a global framework for dealing with aviation’s emissions.”

Nigel Williams, General Manager at Osprey Leisure Centre, said: “As a community organisation we are very grateful for the contribution made by British Airways towards the installation of our solar panels. Thousands of local people will benefit, while we reduce costs and our environmental impact.”