News release from 03/07/2020

£100,000 further funding to help shape South Cambridgeshire’s Zero Carbon Communities

£100,000 further funding to help shape South Cambridgeshire’s Zero Carbon Communities

As part of District Council plans for a green recovery as we emerge from lockdown, South Cambridgeshire’s communities are being further supported to tackle the climate crisis with £100,000 additional funding for grass roots projects.

Local groups can now apply for grants of between £1,000 and £15,000 under South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme. The Council, which recently adopted its first ever Zero Carbon Strategy, lists ‘being green to our core’ as one of its top four Business Plan priorities and has declared both a Climate and a Biodiversity Emergency.

This is the second year that the Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme has been run. Last year, funding was awarded to 19 different community projects delivering an array of schemes covering raising awareness and involving people in issues around carbon emissions, cycling, tree planting, lighting, food production, distribution and waste. This year, following feedback from last year’s applicants, local groups can apply for a grant to focus on one of three themes. These are cycling, community buildings and tree planting and other ‘nature-based solutions’.

To be eligible, the organisation must be a non-profit group based in South Cambridgeshire or benefiting South Cambridgeshire residents, or a South Cambridgeshire parish council. Schools and any other organisations can apply for a grant for a project which is accessible to the community and not just for educational or academic purposes. Applications from informal community groups and local businesses are also encouraged, provided they partner with an eligible non-profit organisation as detailed above.

Zero Carbon Communities Logo

Groups bidding for funding on the cycling theme should seek to reduce private car use in their communities and get more people who would not otherwise cycle on their bikes.

Objectives that need to be met for projects focussing on community buildings include a reduction in the use of fossil fuel energy and increased public awareness of energy improvements available to buildings.

The criteria for projects focussing on the tree planting and other ‘nature-based solutions’ category include reduced carbon dioxide emissions and new habitats for wildlife along with increased public awareness of the importance of trees.

The Council is holding an online workshop at 5pm on Monday (6 July) which will clearly run through the application process and include the chance to ask questions plus find out more about the Zero Carbon Communities initiative. A recording of the workshop will be made available after the event if potential applicants can’t attend.

Following the workshop, groups have until 5pm on Wednesday 30 September to submit their applications for Zero Carbon Communities grant funding. Guidance and an online application form are available now.

Councillor Pippa Heylings behind the solar panels at our Waterbeach depot

The Chair of the Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, Cllr Pippa Heylings (pictured above), said: “This is a fantastic chance for local groups, who without doubt know their villages best, to sow the seeds for a green recovery where they live. Lockdown has been very difficult for so many but it has also shown what we can do when we pull together as a community and that changes in lifestyle are possible. We were hugely impressed with the ambition of applications last year and I expect the same from South Cambridgeshire communities this time around. Our first ever Zero Carbon Strategy which was unanimously adopted by the Council back in May sets out how we will meet our climate change goals and support residents and businesses to do the same. Our Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme is a key way that we can make significant funding available to residents who want to address the climate emergency on a very local level. I’m urging those interested in applying to register for Monday’s online workshop which I am also looking forward to attending, create a well-rounded application and then get their bid into us. I can’t wait to announce the winning applications later this year.”

A tricycle with a cargo area on top

Cambridge Cohousing, a community established in Orchard Park to undertake environmental initiatives, was awarded £5,000 from last year’s round of Zero Carbon Communities funding. This was used to purchase a shared electric cargo tricycle (pictured above) for the use of residents, including to take children to Orchard Park Primary School. Also, by decorating it with their own artwork, it promotes climate change awareness to educate others. The hope is that the group will in turn be able to build a network of people in Orchard Park who are interested in taking action locally.

Frances Wright from Cambridge Cohousing, Marmalade Lane, said: “The Zero Carbon Communities Scheme was very straight-forward to apply for and it is great now to have 27 people signed up as members of the Orchard Park shared electric cargo trike scheme and we are hopeful that number will increase in time. Electric bikes make such a difference and with the sharing economy are the key to reducing personal car use and ownership, critical to a zero carbon future."

New energy efficient lighting on the inside of the roof if Ickleton Village Hall

Also last year, Ickleton Village Hall was awarded almost £8,500 to replace current lighting with low energy equivalents (pictured above). Pam Fearn on behalf of the Trustees at Ickleton Village Hall said: “The Trustees of Ickleton Village Hall were delighted to receive the grant under the Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme. It allowed us to replace all our lighting with energy saving fittings and install room movement light sensors throughout the hall. This straightforward energy saving improvement is our first step in our wish to become a "greener" village hall by doing what we can to improve the environment.”