Zero Carbon Communities Grant - Guidance notes and criteria

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All eligible grant applications will be reviewed by the Grants Advisory Committee, who will make recommendations to the lead Cabinet Member for Finance for decision. We aim to let applicants know of the decision within two months of the application deadline.

Applicants must:

  • Be a non-profit group or organisation based in South Cambridgeshire or benefiting South Cambridgeshire residents, OR a South Cambridgeshire parish council.

Non-profit organisations could include registered charities, companies limited by guarantee, unincorporated associations or clubs, community interest companies, charitable incorporated organisations, community benefit societies, social enterprises, established voluntary sector organisations and community shops with an appropriate legal structure (ie not profit-making).

Applications from schools, informal community groups and local businesses are also encouraged provided they partner with an eligible non-profit organisation as listed above. The lead applicant must be the non-profit organisation and as such will be required to demonstrate an appropriate level of involvement in the project. Commercial businesses are not eligible to apply.

  • Have a written constitution or mission statement
  • Have an elected committee or representative steering group
  • Have a bank account
  • Be able to provide an up to date copy of their accounts and any relevant protection policies. Parish councils can signpost us to relevant online documentation and do not need to submit hard copies.

If your organisation does not have a written constitution, mission statement and/or relevant protection policies please contact Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service for advice in meeting these requirements. Please call 01223 464696 or email

How much can be applied for?

Applications are invited for a minimum of £1,000 and up to £15,000 per organisation.

How will the grant be paid?

A funding agreement will be prepared for all successful applicants. This will include arrangements for payment of the grant.

What We Fund

We can support the following revenue costs:

  • Salaries of project workers
  • Salaries of management staff who supervise project staff. These should be in proportion to the staff time spent on the project
  • Reasonable expenses of project staff and volunteers
  • Marketing and publicity for the project (as appropriate)
  • Equipment.
  • Capital costs.
  • Engagement activities

We cannot pay for the following:

  • Activities, events or services which have already taken place, including staff development time.
  • Activities that benefit individuals, rather than the wider community
  • Activities that generate profits for private gain
  • Religious activity or content (although we are able to fund religious organisations if they are providing benefit for the wider community)
  • Activities that replace government funding (for example, we can only fund school activities that are additional to the curriculum)
  • Loan repayments.

What are the conditions of funding?

Organisations that are awarded a grant will be expected to comply with the following conditions as a minimum:

  • Funding must only be used for the agreed purpose and must be spent within 12-months of the award being made except where exceptional circumstances apply and an extension is agreed with the grants officer in writing.
  • Where a proposal anticipates financial savings or income, the applicant will need to show this will be for the benefit of the community.
  • Publicity must take place acknowledging the award provided by South Cambridgeshire District Council.
  • Any unused grant must be returned to South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • An end of project report with photographs must be submitted to the Council within three months of project completion. 

Applicants are encouraged to seek support for their application from their local Member.

Where appropriate, applicants are encouraged to seek part-funding from other sources including their parish council. There is no requirement for this, but if as expected, the fund is oversubscribed, proposals including funding from other sources will be prioritised. Part-funding can include your own fundraising and can be of monetary and/or in-kind value.

Applicants seeking less than £1,000 are encouraged to apply to the Community Chest for funding if the project involves improvements to community buildings, group ‘start-up’ costs or the purchase of equipment or materials. More information, including eligibility criteria can be found online.

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