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News release from: 03/04/2023

Encouraging communities to go green with a grant fund project celebrating its fifth year

Encouraging communities to go green with a grant fund project celebrating its fifth year

A grant scheme has opened for 2023 to encourage exciting community projects that reduce carbon emissions and engage local people about climate change.

The popular Zero Carbon Communities grant is into its fifth year since being launched as part of its “green to the core” vision by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

From Monday April 3 until the closing date of Friday June 2 community groups in the district are invited to bid for a share of £125,000.

Previous projects have included cooking classes that reduce food waste, tree planting, a community e-bike rental scheme, solar panels for village halls and a men’s mental health and wellbeing project that runs a mobile library for gardening equipment and tool hire.

The Zero Carbon Communities grants are part of the Council’s vision to help the district become net zero carbon by 2050, to create a cleaner and greener future for local people.

It’s the fifth round of grants since they were established in May 2019. Since then, more than £400,000 has been allocated to more than 60 different grass roots projects.

This year, groups in South Cambridgeshire can apply for between £1,000 to £15,000 from the District Council’s total pot of £125,000. 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. Full eligibility criteria and ideas for projects are available at

Cllr Pippa Heylings, Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, said: “We are dedicated to tackling the climate emergency so that our district becomes as environmentally friendly as possible - but we can only do this by working together. The amazing ideas which come forward through our Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme help residents take their own action on a very local level. This is crucial because local people know their villages best and know what will work well where they live.

“All the schemes we have grant funded since 2019 have made a real difference to protecting our environment and every single one has helped with our ambitious goal to help South Cambridgeshire at least halve carbon emissions within the decade. If you want to contribute, please look at the online guidance and apply for one of our grants now.”

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

Chair of the Council’s Grants Advisory Committee, Cllr Jose Hales, said: “Seeing the wide range of Zero Carbon Communities grant applications is a real highlight of the year. I cannot wait to see the ambitious applications in the weeks ahead. The enthusiasm to tackle climate change at a very local level is really encouraging.”

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 by visiting:

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 Wednesday 26 April 2023. You can sign-up to attend this session at