Zero Carbon Communities Grant - Guidance notes and criteria

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The Zero Carbon Communities Grant Scheme supports communities in South Cambridgeshire to take action on climate change.

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.

Applications are invited for projects under two main themes-Community buildings and Nature plus one ‘Other’ smaller general theme for bold and ambitious projects outside of these categories.  Applicants are welcome to apply for more than one project, although it should be noted that allocation of funding will take into account the aim of achieving a good spread of funding across the district.

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. We really want the grant to stimulate wider engagement around what zero carbon means in each local community.  Applications showing this is more than just publicity, but something that will help change behaviour eg through meetings and surveys will be well received. For projects requesting more than £5,000 we would encourage applicants to seek part funding/in kind contributions in order to score highly.

Community buildings

Objectives:

  1. Achieving wider community engagement and behaviour change around climate change (33%)
  2. Reduced use of fossil fuel energy in community buildings (33%)
  3. Additional value (e.g. funding contributions or contributions in kind, eg volunteer time/expertise from other sources, collaboration between organisations, and/or evidence of local and/or Member support) (33%)

In this theme we are interested in funding improvements to community buildings* to reduce the need for fossil fuel energy, (eg grid electricity, gas or oil). We will prioritise improvements which take a whole-building approach which takes into account the ‘energy hierarchy’ (see below), which ranks the stages on the way to using less energy in a building.

The Energy Hierarchy - 1. Energy conservation, 2. Energy efficiency and 3. Renewable energy

The value of projects on a community building is much greater if it can be used to raise awareness in the wider public about improvements which can be made to homes and other buildings. We will ask you for your plans to do this, for example by holding an open event, and/or providing an article for your local newsletter. 

Examples:

Energy conservation measures

  • Draught proofing, insulation of walls, ceilings, roofs, floors and pipes and the replacement of doors or windows.

Energy efficiency measures

  • Lighting upgrades, smart heating control units or infrared heating. We will prioritise these where they have been recommended on an energy survey. 

Solar PV and/or battery storage system for solar PV

  • Solar PV and/or battery storage systems for solar PV where you can show that feasible energy conservation and efficiency measures have already been undertaken or you have a plan to undertake these, (eg funded by savings from the solar PV scheme).  We will prioritise schemes where a significant proportion of electricity generated will be used on-site (either through daytime use of the building or through battery storage).

*Buildings must be open to the whole community, for example village halls.  Multi-purpose church halls and Scout and Guide buildings are eligible where clearly advertised as multi-purpose.  Applicants should have a freehold or leasehold interest in the hall in place.  If there is a lease in place there must be at least 21 years left to run on the lease. School buildings are not eligible for funding through this grant scheme. 

(For energy improvements to schools, please contact Cambridgeshire County Council’s Re:fit Schools Programme which arranges energy saving measures for schools funded through loans or managed service arrangements).

Nature

Objectives: 

  1. Achieving wider community engagement and behaviour change around climate change (33%)
  2. Reduced CO2 in the atmosphere and new or enhanced habitats for wildlife (33%)
  3. Additional value (e.g. funding contributions or contributions in kind, e.g. volunteer time/expertise from other sources, collaboration between organisations, and/or evidence of local and/or Member support) (33%)

We are looking to fund a variety of tree-planting and other nature-based solutions to help combat climate change and increase biodiversity. Consideration will be given to projects which capture CO2 from the atmosphere or prevent its release, whilst at the same time creating or restoring natural habitats.

Examples:

  • Planting of a landmark tree in a small open space
  • Planting of a small tree population
  • Community orchard project
  • Community tree nursery project
  • Community allotment project
  • Creation or enhancement of a community nature area
  • Small-scale restoration of peatland.
  • Hedge or larger village-wide tree canopy project.
  • Tree consultancy fees

Trees and equipment to plant trees can also be funded although applicants will be expected to have explored the possibility of obtaining free trees through other sources such as the Woodland Trust.  In your application you will need to demonstrate how your organisation has the capacity and resources to deliver your project and what your plans are for its long-term sustainability. We would also encourage you to inform your local community about your project and incorporate their ideas where appropriate. For example, exchange of information from local farmers or ecologists.

Where tree planting is on private land, consideration must be given to the ways in which the community will benefit, for example by way of access or landscape value. We would also like to see how the trees will be preserved in the future if land ownership changes.

Other Projects

Objectives: 

  1. Achieving wider community engagement and behaviour change around climate change (33%)
  2. Reduced CO2 in the atmosphere (33%)
  3. Additional value (e.g. funding contributions or contributions in kind, e.g. volunteer time/expertise from other sources, collaboration between organisations, and/or evidence of local and/or Member support) (33%)

This theme is for projects not fitting into our two main themes of Community buildings and Tree planting/Nature. Of interest are bold, ambitious and imaginative projects that are able to fulfil the above objectives to a high standard.

Examples:

  • Community initiatives and events that promote sustainable lifestyle choices
  • Improvement to cycling infrastructure
  • A project to promote cycling
  • Waste reduction projects

Full list of eligibility criteria

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).

Schools and any other organisations can apply for a grant for a project which is accessible to the community and not just for educational purposes.

Applications from 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, bank account, mission statement and/or relevant protection policies/insurance, please contact Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service for advice in meeting these requirements. Contact: 01223 464696 or email enquiries@cambridgecvs.org.uk

How much can be applied for?

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

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 or supplement government funding (for example, we can only fund school activities that are additional to the curriculum)
  • Renewable energy installations where it is intended to claim Renewable Heat Incentive payments or any other payments where the use of public grants renders the installation ineligible for such payments. 
  • Loan repayments.

Where funds allocated through the scheme can be spent on local businesses this is welcomed.

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.

Applicants are encouraged to read case studies of ZCC funded projects published in our Zero Carbon Communities newsletters. If you would like any help or advice from our previous applicants, please email zcc@scambs.gov.uk for more details.

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.

What supporting documentation is required?

  • A copy of your organisation’s constitution or mission statement (except parish councils)
  • A copy of your latest accounts (audited if available)
  • A quote for the project 

Guidance notes

A- Contact details

The first contact should be someone from your organisation who can discuss the application. This would normally be the person responsible for how any grant would be used. Please provide a telephone number and email address to enable us to contact you if there are queries relating to your application.

B – About your organisation

  1. What does your organisation do?

This should be a summary of the work your organisation does rather than the project you want a grant for. Please give a brief account of the aim of your organisation, the services or activities you provide, who they are provided for. If you are a new group, please state what you intend to achieve. For community groups, please tell us how many people use the services you provide.

  1. Is your organisation a charity?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please provide your charity number. 

  1. Is your organisation VAT registered?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please provide your registration number and confirm if your organisation will be able to recover the VAT incurred in relation to the project? If no, is your organisation still able to recover VAT incurred in relation to the project? Please answer Yes/No

The following organisations may be able to use a VAT126 form to recover the VAT incurred from non-business activities (even if not VAT registered):

  • local authorities or similar bodies such as parish councils
  • academy schools or multi-academy trusts (MAT)
  • charities in palliative care, air ambulance, medical or search and rescue
  • a non-departmental body or similar body not registered for VAT
  1. Does your organisation have a bank account?

Please answer Yes/No

If no, please note your application will not be eligible for funding until a bank account is set up.

To receive funding for your group you will need to open a bank account. Having a bank account is the best and safest way to look after your organisation’s money. The account should be opened in the name of your organisation and you will need at least two members to act as signatories. Most banks and building societies offer special accounts for small voluntary and community organisations. They also usually offer free banking as long as your account is in credit. 

  1. Does your organisation have a website?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please provide the full weblink.

This is the website address of your organisation, or the website address for the project if there is one

  1. Is your organisation affiliated to another body?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details of any national or local bodies to which your organisation belongs.

  1. Safeguarding. Does your organisation work with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please upload a copy of your safeguarding policy using the upload feature at the end of this form.

Please note, the Council requires organisations working with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults to have appropriate safeguarding procedures in place. If you do not have a safeguarding policy, please visit the CCVS support webpage for Community and Voluntary groups

  1. Insurance. Does your organisation have appropriate insurance in place for your project?

Please answer Yes/No

If no- we would recommend you have adequate insurance in place for your project. 

C -About your proposal

C1 Community buildings

  1. Does your organisation own the building?

Please answer Yes/No

If No, please state if you have written landowner permission for the measures to be undertaken. If there is a lease in place there must be at least 21 years left to run on the lease. Please provide a copy of this in your supporting information.

  1. When was your building built? (approximately)

  2. How many community groups use your building?

  3. How many hours per week is your building in use?

  4. Have any other energy conservation and efficiency measures already been undertaken?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

  1. How does the project meet the objective of achieving wider community engagement and behaviour change around climate change? (maximum 200 words)

 Please focus on the ‘wider’ community engagement aspect of your project and ensure this is more than just publicity, but something that will help promote behaviour change in reducing carbon emissions.

  • How has the community been involved in drawing up these proposals?
  • What plans are there for community involvement in the project in future?
  • What difference will the project make to your community?
  • How many adult and children volunteers will be involved in the project?
  • How will your project inspire and encourage others to do similar projects?

Further guidance can be found on our climate emergency toolkit webpages.

  1. How does the project meet the objective of reducing use of fossil fuel energy in community buildings? (maximum 200 words)

Please include an estimated reduction in carbon emissions as a result of project. Please show how this has been calculated e.g. from an energy survey. Alternatively please refer to our webpage for further information.

  1. Has your project been identified as a result of an energy survey? Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

  1. Are you working with any other organisations on this project?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

Are there any other organisations directly involved with delivering this project? If so, how are the project work streams divided? In particular include any evidence that working in partnership on this project will contribute more widely to strengthening community networks.

  1. Please indicate an approximate date when your project is likely to be undertaken/started.

Funding must be spent within 12 months of the award being made (unless otherwise agreed in writing)

  1. Please tell us anything else about your building or project (optional)

C2 Nature

  1. Please provide a summary of your project (50 words maximum)

 

  1. Where is the location of your proposed project?

Please also include at least 3 photos of your project site (upload at end)

  1. Please tell us about the land and how it is currently used?

  2. Does your organisation own the land where the project is planned?

Please answer Yes/No

If No:

Do you have written landowner permission for the project at the given location?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please provide a copy of this in your supporting information

If no, please note we will require written permission from the landowner before funding your project

Please briefly describe your project (200 words maximum)

How does the project meet the objective of achieving wider community engagement and behaviour change around climate change?

Please focus on the ‘wider’ community engagement aspect of your project and ensure this is more than just publicity, but something that will help promote behaviour change in reducing carbon emissions.

  • How has the community been involved in drawing up these proposals?
  • What plans are there for community involvement in the project in future?
  • What difference will the project make to your community?
  • How many adult and children volunteers will be involved in the project?
  • How will your project inspire and encourage others to do similar projects?

Further guidance can be found on our climate emergency toolkit webpages.

  1. How does the project meet the objective of reducing CO2 in the atmosphere and creating new or enhanced habitats for wildlife?

If possible, please include number and sizes of trees to be planted, with their associated carbon savings (these can be estimates) and the benefit they will provide to wildlife. Please include a sketch or planting plan for your project (upload at end). Further information can be found at The Woodland Carbon Code website: 3.3 Project carbon sequestration - UK Woodland Carbon Code

  1. Have you experience in delivering similar projects?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

  1. Have you obtained any expert advice on your proposal?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

  1. Are you working with any other organisations on this project?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

Are there any other organisations directly involved with delivering this project? If so, how are the project work streams divided? In particular, please include any evidence that working in partnership on this project will contribute more widely to strengthening community networks.

  1. Will you be using funding to pay for a tree consultant? 

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

For tree consultancy services we are aware of the organisations below.  This is not an exhaustive list. 

  1. Please describe how the land will be maintained, and/or any volunteer programmes sustained (maximum 100 words)

What resources will you have for maintenance once the project is completed? (e.g. how will volunteer programmes be sustained?) What are the long-term prospects for the site?

  1. Please provide any additional information about your project. (optional)

  2. Please indicate an approximate date when your project is likely to be undertaken/started.

Funding must be spent within 12 months of the award being made (unless otherwise agreed in writing)

C3 Other Projects

  1. Please provide a summary of your project (50 words maximum)

  2. Please describe your project
  1. How does the project meet the objective of achieving wider community engagement and behaviour change around climate change?

Please focus on the ‘wider’ community engagement aspect of your project and ensure this is more than just publicity, but something that will help promote behaviour change in reducing carbon emissions.

  • How has the community been involved in drawing up these proposals?
  • What plans are there for community involvement in the project in future?
  • What difference will the project make to your community?
  • How many adult and children volunteers will be involved in the project?
  • How will your project inspire and encourage others to do similar projects?

Further guidance can be found on our climate emergency toolkit webpages.

  1. How does the project meet the objective of reducing CO2 in the atmosphere?

Please include an estimated reduction in carbon emissions as a result of project. Please show how this has been calculated. Further information can be found using the following webpage from the Carbon Trust

  1. What additional value do you think your project provides?

Please provide details of any co-benefits resulting from your project

  1. Have you obtained any expert advice on your proposal?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

  1. Please indicate an approximate date when your project is likely to be undertaken/started.

Funding must be spent within 12 months of the award being made (unless otherwise agreed in writing)

Guidance Note D   Financing your project

Projects requesting more than £5,000 are advised to demonstrate that they have additional funding/in kind contributions or support from other organisations in order to score highly.
  1. Is your parish council able to contribute part-funding for your project? 

Please answer Yes/No/ Not made contact

If yes, please give details

We encourage you to approach your parish council, especially if it is one of the larger parish councils, for part-funding of any applications you make. They may have a local fund available for small projects, or monies from building developments (s106) that could be used for your project. Applications with part-funding in place will be looked upon favourably.

  1. Do you hope to have other sources of funding?

Please answer Yes/No

If yes, please give details

This could include part-funding through your own fundraising, other grants or sponsorship. Please list other funders to whom you are applying, detailing when you submitted your application, or plan to, and a date by which you should be informed of the decision. If any applications were refused, please provide details. If there is a shortfall in funding, what steps will you take to overcome this?

  1. Please give a breakdown of project costs.

Please give as much detail as possible and include ALL costs. The breakdown should be for the whole cost and not just the amount you are asking for funding for. Please make it clear what part of the project you are specifically asking for funding for and ensure that the amount you are requesting related directly to at least one of your quotes. If you do not provide accurate information, this may jeopardise your application’s success.

  1. What is the total project cost?

This should be the total cost of the project, including parts of it that others will be funding. Please use net cost figures if your organisation is able to reclaim VAT or if the VAT is not payable for any reason, and gross cost figures if you are unable to reclaim VAT. You should also include any in-kind contributions to the total project cost figure to give a full account of the whole scheme. The figure should be entered as a whole number, without commas or a decimal point.

  1. How much are you asking for from the Zero Carbon Communities grant?

This can be up to 100% of project costs. Please use net cost figures if your organisation is able to reclaim VAT or if the VAT is not payable for any reason, and gross cost figures if you are unable to reclaim VAT. You should also include any in-kind contributions to the total project cost figure to give a full account of the whole scheme. The figure should be entered as a whole number, without commas or a decimal point

Guidance Note E   Support from your District Councillor

  1. Is your District Councillor in favour of the project?

Please give details. We encourage applicants to inform their district councillors about their project.

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