Zero Carbon Communities Grant
The deadline for applications to be received by us has now closed.
The Zero Carbon Communities Grant Scheme allows communities in South Cambridgeshire to take action on climate change at a very local level.
This year, applications were invited for projects under the 2 themes:
- Reducing carbon emissions or locking up carbon
- Community engagement on climate change
Please note that we cannot award the grant for work undertaken before the receipt of funding.
A workshop was held on 26 April to help those considering applying. As part of the workshop, Eleanor Haines, Climate and Environment project officer spoke about the changes to the grant this year, Cllr Linda King from Willingham Parish Council spoke about their previously successful projects, and Sally Page from Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service (CCVS) spoke about how to make a successful grant application. A recording of the workshop is available below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Zero Carbon Communities FAQs
Are church buildings eligible, for example, a church school room used for village activities not connected with church?
Yes, Church buildings are eligible, provided they are used to provide a benefit to the Community. Please refer to our criteria and guidance paying particular attention to the stated objectives. Project proposals will be scored and prioritised for funding based on how well the answers to the questions fulfil the objectives given for each theme.
For guidance on measures which can be taken for historic buildings and churches themselves, please visit the Historic England website.
Are air/ground source heat pumps eligible for funding?
Yes, although please be aware that any funding provided by the ZCC grant would mean you would not be eligible for Renewable Heat Incentive payments from the Government. For this reason, we would expect applicants to have considered other sources of funding, including borrowing (to be paid back by with the RHI payments), where possible. You would also need to demonstrate that a heat pump is the right technology for your community building, for example as detailed on an energy survey and that you have strong community engagement plans. For further information, please refer to our criteria and guidance paying particular attention to the stated objectives. Project proposals will be scored and prioritised for funding based on how well the answers to the questions fulfil the objectives given for each theme.
Are EV Charging Points eligible for funding?
We do not accept applications for EV charge points as there are now Government grants available for this. If you would like more information on this, please contact ZCC@scambs.gov.uk for help on accessing grants for EV charging.
How do we measure how much carbon is locked up through tree planting?
Please refer to the application guidance for more details on how to measure community engagement on climate change. We require this information for a project to be successful. Failure to provide this information may jeopardise the success of your application. Information on carbon measurements can be found at UK Woodland Carbon Code website.
How may wider community engagement be achieved?
Wider community engagement can still be achieved and does not necessarily need to involve just one community group. Perhaps you could arrange a meeting for your community e.g. give a presentation at a Parish Council meeting or at your local school. We are looking for value for money, so if you are requesting the maximum amount, we would expect a high level of Community engagement in order to score highly. For further information, please refer to our criteria and guidance paying particular attention to the stated objectives. Project proposals will be scored and prioritised for funding based on how well the answers to the questions fulfil the objectives given for each theme.
Can the funding go towards capital purchase of land as part of a nature project, or just planting, equipment etc?
Yes, this could be considered, although we would expect the costs of land to be very high and as such it would probably be better if the grant was to pay for planting, equipment and sundries.
The project in mind is planting a community orchard - the plan would be to set up a group if funding comes in (we do have individuals ready and a plan).
The eligibility criteria states that you need to be fully constituted. This is relatively easy to do but if you know of a group willing to apply on your behalf, such as your Parish Council, this would be the best approach. For further information, please refer to our criteria and guidance which also details on how to become a constituted group.
If a project is more than £15k and other sources of funds have not been identified or received, can an application to ZCC still be made with a chance of success?
Where additional funding has been agreed you will stand a better chance with the grant, particularly if you are requesting the full £15k. If the additional funding expected does not materialise, there is a chance your project cannot be completed. For further information, please refer to our criteria and guidance paying particular attention to the stated objectives. Project proposals will be scored and prioritised for funding based on how well the answers to the questions fulfil the objectives given for each theme.
I want to apply, but I am not sure what project to do?
If you are interested in applying, but want to get ideas for projects, please refer to our application guidance. Alternatively, please get in contact with us at ZCC@scambs.gov.uk. You can read about previously successful projects below.
How do we measure the projected carbon emission reduction?
Please refer to the application guidance for more details on how to measure carbon emission reduction. We require this information for a project to be successful. Failure to provide this information may jeopardise the success of your application.
How do we measure community engagement on climate change?
Please refer to the application guidance for more details on how to measure community engagement on climate change. We require this information for a project to be successful. Failure to provide this information may jeopardise the success of your application.
Here are the projects we have already funded through the Zero Carbon Communities Grant scheme.
Carbon emission reduction
Cottenham Parish Council
Received £15,000 to install an additional 33 solar PV roof panels and a battery system allowing the Village Hall to maximise their carbon savings. The visibility of the project will allow it to be an example to others, as well as its advertisement through the newsletter, website and the Fen Edge Festival. The funding was matched by the parish council.
Cottenham Community Centre
Awarded £15,000 for their project to install 33 solar PV roof panels and a battery system on the community centre, building on their previous work to make the building more energy efficient. The project is providing the remaining funding for the project from grants and their own reserves.
Milton Community Centre and Recreation Grounds (MCC)
This project to add solar battery storage to their 35 PV panel array was awarded £13,296 to which the MCC added £1,200. This will benefit local groups, residents and engage trustees and volunteers through managing the project. It will allow the building to reduce grid usage as far as possible.
West Wickham Village Hall
Previously funded in round 3 of the grant scheme, the project was funded £4,000 in round 4, adding to the Hall’s own funding of £9970.40 to install 20 solar PV panels with a battery storage system. This will supply power for the infra-red heading system installed through a previous round of the grant. The project will be delivered through the Solar Together Cambridgeshire scheme.
Hardwick Parish Council
The parish council were funded £5,292 to install two bike sheds and set up an e-bike rental scheme in partnership with the organisation, Cambridge Electric Transport. This will reduce emissions by avoiding those that would have been produced by car journeys, which would have otherwise been taken. This builds on the growing network of e-bikes in the district and will improve air quality and encourage healthier lifestyles.
Fowlmere Recreation Ground and Village Hall
Awarded £2,000 to replace the remainder of the lighting in the Village Hall with LEDs, following their previous energy efficiency improvements. This cost reduction will benefit multiple community groups which use the Village Hall.
Harston Village Hall Trust
Funded £8,956 to replace the defective rendering around the building with a layer of 100mm thick insulation to improve thermal efficiency, as part of essential ongoing works. The project will reduce its future running costs, providing a warmer hall for community groups who use it.
Ickleton Village Hall
Awarded £8,000 to install 18 solar PV panels on the hall’s south-facing roof. They will also install a battery system, building on their previous work to increase energy efficiency, including fitted LED lights, installing motion sensors, and more efficient fire doors. The project will be shared through the Open Gardens event, village magazine and social media, with additional funding also being raised through the Open Gardens project.
Community engagement on climate change
Cambridge Carbon Footprint
Following the delivery of their Net Zero Now programme, funded in round 1 of the ZCC grant scheme, CCF have been funded £15,000 for a second round of the series. It will train and recruit 40 climate leaders in 20 new villages in the district, equipping them with the tools and confidence to deliver climate action in their community and refine the programme. Twelve graduate climate leaders will be supported through the project.
Cambridge Sustainable Food
Awarded £11,318 to build on their existing work with food hubs in Harston and Gamlingay to develop examples of how sustainable, climate friendly foods and behaviour change can be embedded into community action, whilst reaching those that would normally be marginalized from this type of work i.e., those on low incomes.
This community organisation was granted £14,131 to build a mobile Library of Things that visits Swavesey and surrounding villages to loan equipment and tools to people. It will be a self-sustaining and mobile facility promoting a circular economy and culture of re-use in the direct, and wider community.
Funded £15,000 for their project, whereby 30 representatives from 10 community-facing settings will attend a one-day training event. Attendees will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver practical cookery sessions with their own beneficiaries, with a focus on reducing avoidable food waste.
This community group was funded £1,551 to secure their projects, events and engagement with the community for the next 3 years. They aim to create a website to showcase events and projects, plus gain funding to be able to hire rooms for talks/workshops.
Shepreth Parish Council with Shepreth Village Hall Committee
Received £9,495 for the installation of 12 solar panels and battery storage, allowing them to become 100% supplied by renewables. This benefited the community’s use of the hall and enabled education around renewable energy.
Girton Parish Council
Awarded £15,000 to install underfloor heating and a heating pump in their pavilion. They plan to engage the community through signage, their monthly newsletter, and through the school. The ZCC funding makes up part of the £25,294 project.
West Wickham Village Hall
West Wickham Village Hall were granted £9,000 to replace their gas boiler and electric convector radiators with infra-red heating panels. This contributes to their plans to transition to Net Zero, which includes installing LED lighting and fitting a solar PV array. Their project is regularly communicated through their monthly village newsletter Village Voice. The Village Hall contributed £5,759, and the parish council provided an additional £1,000 on top of the funds provided by the ZCC grant.
Willingham Parish Council
Awarded £4,161 to replace a 1000m2 weed bed with a wildflower meadow of varied grasses and perennials on the eastern edge of the QEII playing field. The project will sequester carbon and enhance the biodiversity of the area. Previously awarded £13,142 to install infra-red heating in the Ploughman hall, the group regularly engages with local volunteers and groups through surveys, nature trails and signposting. The project is supplemented by £2,000 of their own funds and in-kind contributions.
Cambridge Past, Present and Future
Cambridge Past, Present and Future received £3,521 adding to £1,355 of self-funding, to coppice and restore two acres of woodland at Wandlebury Country Park. As well as planting 50 new native whips, they created deadwood habitats where wood was left to rot down and sequester carbon. The remaining coppiced wood will heat their education centre and be sold locally. This project involved 30 volunteers including those from another funded project, Headway Cambridgeshire. This work will educate their 100,000 park visitors, visiting schools, social media followers and newsletter recipients.
Little Shelford Community Orchard and Woodland Project
Having received £3,165 in Round 2 of the grant scheme, Little Shelford Community Orchard and Woodland Project received £1,780 in this funding round to plant 11 fruit trees, hedgerows and at least 2 more cuts of wildflower meadow to create a wildlife corridor.
Great Shelford Parochial Charities
Awarded £4,610 for their project to landscape six acres of land to plant 22 mature native trees and 2,000 bulbs. These were planted by volunteers for the enjoyment of the whole village. This project will increase biodiversity and raise awareness by engaging children and residents.
Fen Ditton Parish Council
Received £3,000 to plant 400 hedgerow whips and 33 trees on three areas of land in the area by community volunteers. The hedgerows will create wildlife corridors and increase biodiversity.
This charity has been awarded £5,000 to create a community orchard by planting and maintaining 40 organic apple trees and hedgerows at Fen End Lane Farm in Cottenham. The project will benefit from cookery sessions, a horticultural therapist, and a community support worker. Apples grown will be donated to Cambridge Sustainable Food, another ZCC-funded project. Headway Cambridgeshire funded £7,800 from their own reserves and donations.
Linton Parish Council
Linton Parish Council was granted £2,828 to create a central Community Orchard in the Village, and to add extra trees to the pocket park (often visited for educational purposes). 38 native trees will enhance biodiversity and canopy cover in the village. This project is supported by the school, who will make bat and bird boxes and wildflower areas, and the local Tree Warden, who will carry out tree audits. 20% of the total project costs are funded by the parish council.
Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC
As a previous recipient of ZCC funding in Round 1, Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC used their £8,541 funding to put on various events and activities with the aim of encouraging a shift to more climate-friendly diets. This included four live cookery demonstrations at the Fen Edge Festival in June 2022, Disco Soup and Climate Diet Assembly at Cottenham Primary School, Ready, Steady, Cook at a Community Centre and Café and two climate diet cookery workshops with Centre School.
Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth Climate Emergency Group
Awarded £2,860 to build and maintain a website alongside community engagement to educate and engage parishioners in climate change. They aim to encourage the community to make changes to their lifestyles to become Net Zero Carbon by 2050. This website will signpost individuals to support for individual behaviour change and will provide a Book Café alternative for those without a computer.
Northstowe Horticultural Association
Having previously received funding for their Tree Planting project in Round 2, Northstowe Horticultural Association received £10,000 to purchase and install a community building. This will be used as a community space for small meetings, and a storage space for gardening equipment. Northstowe Horticultural Association regularly engages community volunteers in sessions which educates both children and adults and promotes healthy, sustainable lifestyles, whilst reducing food miles and cutting down on waste.
Babraham Parish Council
Received £9,835 to help create a ‘Forest Garden’ to be located on approximately 0.7 hectares of Babraham Institute managed land for growing edible and usable produce.
Barrington Parish Council
Received £2,037 to create the ‘Barrington Community Forest Garden’, consisting of 6 East Anglian fruit and nut trees, 10 berry and currant bushes, plus other herbs and shrubs.
Eltisley Parish Council
Awarded £5,367 to create new woodlands to act as a carbon sink, improve the environment and create a green amenity space for the village to enjoy. 300 saplings have now been planted in the churchyard, and the parish council plan to establish wildflower areas on 4 verges and entrances to the village, to increase biodiversity.
Foxton Parish Council
Received £834 working with Friends of Dovecot and Friends of Foxton Woods, to create seedbeds for more drought resistant wildflower species to grow in Dovecot meadow. Situated next to Foxton Primary School, the site is ideally located to enable the teaching of the history, ecology and biodiversity.
Gamlingay Parish Council
Received funding of £5,965 for the ‘Grow Gamlingay’ project which aims to steadily increase the tree canopy of Gamlingay Parish over the next 10 years. In year one they will plant 'A Tiny Forest' (600 trees in a 200 metre-squared area), set up the Gamlingay Tree trail, and a community tree nursery.
Great Shelford Parish Council
Received £5,750 to plant eight mature trees in their new play area (playscape). This was planned to be built on the recreation ground in 2021. Also, to employ a tree consultant to develop a planting guide for currently underutilised areas of the recreation ground; identifying any further tree planting sites around the village centre.
Little Shelford Community Orchard and Woodland Project (SCOWP)
This group received £3,165 to manage the planning, implementation, and maintenance of a community woodland/orchard on the land known as 'Blennies Patch' on behalf of the landowners (Little Shelford Parish Council).
Funding is for phase one of this two phase project, which has already started. Blennies Patch has been cleared and prepared, and 200 whips (to form hedgerows), nine apple trees, several small oaks and three silver birch trees were planted. Bird boxes have been put up and there have been sightings of barn owls, muntjac deer and grass snakes.
Little Wilbraham and 6 Mile Bottom Parish Council
Received £1,125 for all three phases of their project to plant 5 trees, create paths at the rec and the 'pits' and plant vegetation on verges around the village. They work with Wilbraham’s Environment Group on this project which forms part of a larger project known as 'Wilding the Wilbrahams' with Great Wilbraham.
Northstowe Horticultural Association
Received, £5,800 to create a community garden and orchard that can be used by all local residents to learn about growing their own fruit and vegetables. Find out more on the Northstowe Horticultural Association Facebook page.
Sawston Parish Council
Received £2,792 to pay for a tree consultant to develop planting guides for 12 separate green spaces spread across Sawston Village and provide additional support for their community planting events. Funding will also be used for wildflower plantings to increase biodiversity. This project is being undertaken as a partnership between Sawston Parish Council and Green Groups in the Shelfords, Stapleford and Sawston (2G3S).
Received £2,000 to provide support, advice, resources and connections to enable South Cambridgeshire residents to organise, plan and apply for funding and traffic regulation orders for their local schools. This project, known as School Streets, will reduce carbon emissions through fewer car journeys and reduced congestion during school start and finish times. With the additional benefit of helping to create a safer environment for children at these times.
Cottenham Parish Council
Received £1,500 for the Installation of secure cycle stands at two community spaces: one at the North and one at the South of the village.
Fowlmere Parish Council
Received £2,690 to install 14 cycle stands in four key public locations in the village to promote and encourage cycling.
Great Abington Parish Council
Received £2,055 in round one for their project to reduce car roundtrips from the Abingtons by switching to Electric Bikes through an awareness-raising/promotional weekend and purchase of an e-bike for extended free trials by parishioners of Great Abington, Little Abington and Hildersham, over a 12-month period. The e-bike scheme is proving to be very popular, being out on loan 100% of the time.
In 2020 they received further funding of £3,050 to Kickstart a commercial share-bike scheme with bikes and expertise provided by Cambridge Electric Transport.
Milton Cycling Campaign
Milton Cycling Campaign received £15,000 to provide high quality cycle parking stands at key sites in Milton parish or on a habitual commuting route for Milton residents. By prioritising sites which will attract more cycle traffic, the grant money will be used to offer a reimbursement scheme for those organisations whose racks will get used often, and have provided sufficient publicity on how to reduce routine car use in Milton.
St John the Evangelist Parish Church, Waterbeach
Received £15,000 to install an air source heat pump, solar PV and an energy monitor in their church room (constructed in 1970s to 1980s) which is connected to the main church and is well used by the local community. The church belongs to the Eco Church scheme, under which publicity on the part of the church is encouraged to demonstrate the benefits of “eco” initiatives. They will also use “Explore” days, church services and local events to demonstrate and communicate benefits, as a way of informing the village community and encouraging people to take up “eco” developments.
Willingham Parish Council
Received £13,142 to install infra-red heating panels in their multi-use village hall (Ploughman Hall) which had no gas supply and relied on inefficient convection panels for heating. The panels are now installed, and they look forward to reduced heating costs and more efficient heating of the hall.
Cambourne Town Council
Received £2,538 and planted 1,200 young trees and shrubs around the Great Cambourne cricket outfield in February 2020. Residents and pupils from Cambourne Village College helped the town council by volunteering their time to help with planting.
Great Wilbraham Parish Council
Received £1,000 for phase 1 of their project which is to plant 6 standard oak trees in the village.
Histon & Impington Trees Action Group (known as HI Trees)
Received £6,500 to restore woodland that was destroyed in the A14 expansion project. The initial planting of 1,000 trees and 750 metres of hedges was initially delayed due to COVID. With the use of a COVID-safe contractor the project was able to plant about two-thirds of the planned trees with the remaining being planted by volunteers. More information can be found on the Hi Hub webpage.
Received £4,150 for their project known as the Orwell Living food bank. The project, which links local people using existing church-based food boxes to a programme that enables them to build local vegetable plots. Despite difficulties caused by both the weather and lockdown, the project has planted heritage seeds and fruit trees, with the help of donated tools and plants, as well as linking in with all the food banks in the villages.
Whittlesford Parish Council
Received £3,611 to plant 80 trees to absorb carbon, increase biodiversity, and inspire residents to take climate change seriously. The 80 trees have been planted including a Native Hornbeam to celebrate the Village Hall’s 100-year anniversary.
The cohousing community undertake environmental initiatives for the benefit of both the cohousing community and residents of Orchard Park. They received £5,000 and purchased and launched an electric cargo bike which is now in use by Orchard Park residents and local non-profit groups. The 'trike', is decorated in eye-catching artwork to highlight climate change, and has been used in a community litter pick.
Received £10,000 for a project to combine ‘PlanIt’, a national aggregator of Local Authority planning application data with ‘Cyclescape’, a site enabling local people to crowdsource long-desired changes to street infrastructure. The user-friendly website, known as StreetFocus, will auto-identify cases for planning gain.
Fen Ditton Parish Council
Received £1,500 for the installation of a cycle rack and a water fountain in Fen Ditton. The cycle rack and water fountain have both been installed.
Great Abington Parish Council
Received £2,055 in round one for their project to reduce car round-trips from the Abingtons by switching to Electric Bikes through an Awareness-raising/promotional weekend and purchase of an e-bike for extended free trials by parishioners of Great Abington, Little Abington and Hildersham over a 12-month period. The e-bike scheme is proving to be very popular, being out on loan 100% of the time.
In round 2 they received further funding of £3,050 to Kickstart a commercial share-bike scheme with bikes and expertise provided by Cambridge Electric Transport.
Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership
Received £6,500 for a two story cycle rack (30 bikes) including CCTV cameras and a cycle repair café at Meldreth Station. The project is accompanied by a cycle repair café.
Received £13,392 to provide Pop Up Bike Shops and Safe Cycling and Repair Workshops outreaching to local communities across South Cambridgeshire. The company ‘Owl Bikes’ support disabled adults to develop the practical skills of customer service, IT and bike mechanics.
Teversham Parish Council
Received £14,477 for the Teversham Cycle Plan and now have four subsidised community e-bikes (‘bizbikes’) supplied by Cambridge Electric Transport with lockers across the housing estates and commuting nodes of the parish. Four further cycle stands have also been installed to serve Teversham village businesses, the school and social club. A community engagement day took place on 24 October 2020 to raise awareness of the cycle plan and its environmental, economic and health benefits.
Waterbeach Cycling Campaign
Received £1,200 and with some additional funds from Waterbeach Parish Council. Three sets of cycle stands have been installed in the centre of Waterbeach village with a campaign targeted at villagers to encourage them to cycle rather than drive to the village. Publicity has been provided on the local Facebook page and the Waterbeach Cycling Campaign website.
Cambridge Carbon Footprint
Received £15,000 for their Net Zero Now project - a scheme to train and support community climate leaders across the district. The programme provided free training in effective carbon reduction strategies for local communities.
Cambridge Sustainable Food
Received £15,000 towards their Food for Our Future campaign to raise awareness of the issues and encourage practical solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of food. The campaign and challenge were adapted so that they could still continue with the COVID restrictions in place. The online campaign launched on Saturday 24 October 2020 with a food waste challenge, cookery workshops, recipes, talks and storytelling-all to support families in reducing their food waste. They also ran a community focused meat reduction campaign in early Summer 2021.
Gamlingay Eco Community Group
Received £2,129 to offer plastic free alternatives with a monthly pop-up shop offering a range of plastic free household products for the community to try for free then buy. They have also started to present online sessions on plastic pollution, the first of which took place in September 2020, when they met online with Gamlingay Brownies. Find out more on the Gamlingay Eco Community Group Facebook page.
Ickleton Village Hall committee
New energy efficient lighting on the inside of the roof of Ickleton Village Hall. Received, £8,387 and in May 2020 replaced all the current lighting in the village hall with low energy equivalents.
Melbourn Parish Council
Received £6,000 for their project with Melbourn Village College to reduce single plastic water bottle usage by providing six anti-vandal water bottle refill stations on at Melbourn Village College. Pupils now regularly use the stations to refill their water bottles and continue to champion green initiatives in the school, such as ‘Meat-free Mondays’.
Received £2,520 and already worked with Cambridge Sustainable Food with their Food Waste Challenge back in Autumn 2020. They are currently developing the rest of their Eco Eats Campaign and festival to encourage sustainable eating and the urgent need to reduce the carbon footprint of food production, distribution and waste. The Eco Eats Working Group hoped that this festival would have been feasible in Autumn 2021. They will also be helping with the Cambridge Sustainable Food’s ‘Food for our Future’ campaign in early summer. An Eco Eats recipe book is currently being developed, too.