News release from 23/03/2022

Bid now for grants to tackle climate change

Bid now for grants to tackle climate change

South Cambridgeshire’s community groups can now bid for a share of more than £120,000 from the District Council’s popular Zero Carbon Communities Grant scheme.

The scheme, now in its fourth year, has so far provided £310,000 to 51 grassroots projects that work to tackle climate change in South Cambridgeshire. The deadline to apply for the latest round of grants is Wednesday 1 June 2022.

Note: Since this news article was published, the deadline to apply has been extended to 5pm on Friday 17 June 2022.

This year, groups in South Cambridgeshire can apply for between £1,000 and to £15,000 from the District Council’s total pot of £120,544. The process has been simplified to aid applicants, with applications invited under two categories.

The first category is for projects which reduce carbon emissions or lock up carbon in a measurable way such as low carbon, energy saving improvements to community buildings, or tree-planting initiatives. The second category is for community engagement projects which support and encourage lower carbon living. Read full eligibility criteria and ideas for projects.

The annual application process starts after South Cambridgeshire District Council was recognised for its work to tackle climate change, with a silver accolade in the Green Public Service category at the 2022 iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards.

The Zero Carbon Communities fund is one of the ways the District Council is supporting South Cambridgeshire shift to a cleaner and greener future with the support of the community.

The money for Zero Carbon Communities grants comes from business rates from renewable energy sites, like solar farms, in South Cambridgeshire that the Council retains and earmarks for use in green initiatives like this.

Parish councils and non-profit groups or organisations that are based in the district can apply. Other groups, such as social enterprises and community interest companies can apply as part of a partnership led by a parish council or not-for-profit group. Groups can apply to the grant scheme online.

The Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, Cllr Pippa Heylings, said: “Tackling the climate emergency which we face remains a crucial task, but we can only do this by working together. Schemes that come forward via our Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme help residents take their own action on a very local level. This is important because they know their villages best and will know what will work well where they live. This is one of our most popular grant schemes. More than 50 individual projects have benefited from well over £300,000 worth of funding so far: each making a tangible difference to protecting our environment. Each one also helps with our ambitious goal to reduce our own carbon emissions by 45% on 2018-19 levels by 2025, and we are doing all we can to help South Cambridgeshire at least halve emissions within the decade. The power of this shared ambition between the community and the Council was recognised with a national accolade this month for our Green to the Core approach. If you want to contribute, please look at the online guidance and apply for one of our grants now.”

Those interested in applying are encouraged to sign-up for an upcoming webinar, run by the Council, will share information on eligible projects, and how to apply. This will take place on Tuesday 26 April 2022. You can sign-up to attend this session.

Chair of the Council’s Grants Advisory Committee, Cllr Jose Hales, said: “Receiving these Zero Carbon Communities grant applications is always a real highlight of the year. I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing a range of ambitious applications in the months ahead. The passion which our villages are demonstrating in tackling climate change on a very local level is simply outstanding. All of the projects that we fund through this scheme are proof of how we are all working together towards a cleaner and greener South Cambridgeshire.”

Amongst the recipients of the Zero Carbon Communities grant in 2021 were:

  • Girton Parish Council, which was awarded £15,000 to install energy efficient heating through infra-red heating panels
  • Shepreth Parish Council with Shepreth Village Hall Committee, who were awarded £9,495 for the installation of LED lighting, double glazing and solar panels to the Village Hall
  • West Wickham Village Hall, which was awarded £9,000 for the installation of infra-red heating panels
  • Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC, which was awarded £8,541 for running Cottenham Eco Eats Community food events
  • Headway Cambridgeshire, which was awarded £5,000 for their ‘Grow, Share, Eat’ project.