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News release from: 10/08/2023

Half a million pounds in Zero Carbon Communities grants given to South Cambridgeshire community groups

Half a million pounds in Zero Carbon Communities grants given to South Cambridgeshire community groups

The District Council is awarding green grants to 10 South Cambridgeshire community groups marking a £500,000 total since the scheme began four years ago.

This year’s round of projects, aimed at reducing carbon emissions and engaging communities on climate change, will receive grant funding totalling more than £125,000.

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

The latest round of grants means half a million pounds has been awarded to 71 projects since the scheme began in 2019.

Designed to equip community groups to take action at a local level, previous grants have helped upgrade community buildings, educate people around their carbon footprint, and help nature recover in the District. Projects have included tree planting, energy efficient heating and lighting, food production and distribution, plus waste reduction.

Cllr Pippa Heylings, Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, said: “This is the fifth round of Zero Carbon Community grant funding we have been able to offer across our district taking the total now to half a million pounds. Enabling grass roots projects to put their ideas into tangible actions is really exciting. The projects support our vision to meet our zero-carbon targets together and show how everyone can play their part in tackling the climate emergency at a local level.

“Our Zero Carbon Grants help everyone to get involved and inspire others to reduce their carbon footprint. I’m very proud to see our communities in South Cambridgeshire working on this challenge with such enthusiasm. It is the responsibility of all of us to look after our environment for future generations.”

Awards range from £1,000 up to £15,000 under one of two categories: reducing or locking up carbon, and community engagement around climate change. Projects to be funded in the carbon reduction category are:

  • Wysing Arts Centre, Duxford Community Centre and Landbeach Village Hall will receive £15,000 each to install solar panels.
  • The charity Hope Against Poverty will receive £15,000 to buy an electric van for their mobile food hub, replacing the current diesel van.
  • Milton Community Centre will receive £8,321.67 to upgrade to energy efficient lighting throughout the community centre and recreation ground.
  • Swavesey Squash Club will receive £1,484 to install cavity wall insulation.

Projects to be funded in the community engagement category are:

  • Cambridge Carbon Footprint will receive £15,000 to continue expanding and developing their repair café network. Staffed with skilled volunteer repairers, the cafes fix items (from clothing and small electricals to bikes) free of charge and educate people around circular economy and consumption habits.
  • Cambridge Carbon Footprint’s thermal imaging scheme will receive £11,095 to continue their thermal camera loans to households across the District. They will also continue their Open Eco Homes scheme and employ a Home Energy Officer to support households making energy efficiency upgrades to their homes.
  • Cambridge Sustainable Food will receive £15,000 to develop and extend their network of sustainable food and local growing projects and continue outreach to educate people around food and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Let’s Cook Project will receive £15,000 to continue sustainable food education. Thirty representatives from 10 community-facing settings will be trained to deliver practical cookery sessions with their own beneficiaries with a focus on reducing avoidable food waste.

Mahesh Hettiarachch, founder of Hope Against Poverty CIC, said: “We are delighted to have recently launched our new Mobile Food Hub, funded by the District Council, to further support communities during the ongoing crises of high living cost. Receiving this grant will make a huge difference as it means we will be able to purchase an electric vehicle for deliveries. This thinking approach aligns with the increasing awareness of issues and the importance of reducing carbon emissions. To find out the scheduled stops in villages across South Cambridgeshire, please follow Hope CIC on Facebook.”