Switch on for Community Energy Grant Fund
South Cambridgeshire’s community groups can now bid for a share of a £55,000 grant pot, made available by the District Council, to help them be greener.
The authority’s Community Energy Grant Fund has today (1 March) been officially launched. It allows groups to bid for funds to spend on measures that make them more energy efficient, and so reduce the amount of energy they use.
Parish councils, charities, sports and social clubs, not-for-profit organisations and other voluntary groups are being invited to bid for up to £3,000 each to spend on initiatives like insulation, lighting and heating controls and efficient boilers for their buildings, battery storage to help make the most of solar panel installations and electric car charging points for community use.
For groups that are just starting out on the road to becoming more energy efficient, grant applications can be made to fund a community building energy survey. A community building self-survey is also available on the Council’s website.
The £3,000 funding limit means a wide range of projects throughout South Cambridgeshire will be able to benefit. A total of £55,000 will be available each year.
The money is coming from business rates that the Council retains from renewable energy generation sites in the district, such as solar farms. This fund ensures some of the benefits from these large-scale sites are reinvested in the green energy sector, but at a community level.
Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our local community groups so I’d really urge them to apply. It’s an effective way for us to give volunteers a helping hand to make their buildings more energy efficient, and in turn reduce the amount of money they spend on energy bills. This will hopefully leave them with a little spare which I’m sure they’d much rather spend on providing their activities to residents. I’ve seen first-hand how much of a difference some extra insulation can make at Barton Village Hall, and it really is worthwhile. Funding will be handed out on a first come, first served basis so don’t wait, get an application in now.”
Applications will be considered regularly at the Finance and Staffing Portfolio Holder’s Meetings, which are usually held every month.
Additionally, a separate loan fund for residents, businesses and community groups to borrow funds to spend on green energy measures is also being established by South Cambridgeshire District Council. This is due for launch in mid-July. The authority is also investigating ways it can be greener itself, such as by looking at the potential for installing solar canopies in the car park of its Cambourne HQ and renewable energy generation schemes at the planned new Sports Pavilion and Community Centre sites at Northstowe.