News release from 09/08/2022

Zero Carbon Communities grant funds 12 groups as part of the Council’s green vision

Zero Carbon Communities grant funds 12 community groups as part of the Council’s green vision

Twelve exciting community projects in South Cambridgeshire, aimed at reducing carbon emissions and engaging communities on climate change, are set to receive grant funding totalling £120,544 from the District Council.

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

This is the fourth round of grants since they were established in May 2019. More than £400,000 has been allocated to 61 different grass roots projects including campaigns and awareness-raising around reducing carbon emissions, tree planting, energy efficient heating and lighting, food production and distribution, and waste reduction.

The newly announced projects for the coming year focus on activities to reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, encourage behaviour change towards low carbon lifestyles. Projects include cookery sessions to reduce food waste, a mobile tool-loan library, an e-bike rental scheme plus eco-friendly lighting and heating measures in community buildings.

Emma Jarvis, Director of the Let’s Cook Project, which received a £15,000 grant to train community reps to deliver cookery classes focused on reducing food waste, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be awarded this funding. We hope to make a real difference in reducing avoidable food waste in South Cambs. We are passionate about inspiring local communities to think about food waste through a series of educational programmes and events for people of all ages. There are a number of ways in which food waste can affect the environment, including when we waste food, we waste the natural resources used for producing that food. The three main ones are energy, fuel and water. Everyone can make a difference, no matter how small, and we can’t wait to start supporting local people to make the difference.”

Phillip Cohen, Co-founder of SHEDDIT! which received a grant of £14,131 to build a mobile library to loan equipment and tools to people in Swavesey and surrounding villages, said: “This grant is the ultimate award for sustainability in and around Swavesey and the wider Cambridgeshire area. It is the result of hard work and planning for the last three years by a small but determined group of dedicated SHEDDIT! members who conceived this idea to keep the Shed going after the havoc caused by the pandemic. ‘Shed It’ is shorthand for using the Shed to make things and borrow things and grow the essential well-being element of a sharing community. A community that helps each other and combats loneliness and isolation and SHEDs some of the anxiety and depression that results.”

Awards range and can be up to £15,000 each. The 2022 projects are:

  • Let’s Cook £15,000 to fund 30 representatives from 10 community-facing settings to attend a one-day training event. Attendees will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver practical cookery sessions with a focus on reducing avoidable food waste.
  • Sheddit! £14,131 to build a mobile library to loan equipment and tools to people in Swavesey and surrounding villages. It will be a self-sustaining and mobile facility.
  • Cambridge Carbon Footprint £15,000 to help fund the Net Zero Now programme to build a local network of climate leaders to deliver carbon reduction activities, events and communications that engage people of all backgrounds. It will train and recruit new climate leaders and support the existing 12 graduate leaders through the project.
  • Cottenham Parish Council £15,000 for the installation of an additional 33 solar PV roof panels (there are already 30) and a battery system.
  • Cottenham Community Centre £15,000 for the installation of additional 33 solar PV roof panels and a battery system.
  • Milton Community Centre and Recreation Grounds £13,296 to add solar battery storage to the existing solar PV array to allow the building to become self-sufficient.
  • Cambridge Sustainable Food £11,318 to build on existing work with food hubs in Harston and Gamlingay to develop examples of how sustainable, climate friendly foods and behaviour change can be embedded into community action whilst reaching those that would normally be marginalized from this type of work such as those on low incomes.
  • Harston Village Hall Trust £8,956 to replace defective rendering around the building and add a layer of 100mm thick insulation to improve thermal efficiency.
  • Hardwick Parish Council £5,292 to install two small bike sheds and set up an e-bike rental scheme for the community.
  • West Wickham Village Hall £4,000 to install 20 solar PV panels and battery storage to further reduce carbon footprint and complementing their infra-red heating system, previously funded through the ZCC grant scheme.
  • Sustainable Northstowe £1,551 to secure climate change projects, events and community engagement for the next three years. They aim to create a website to showcase events and projects, plus gain funding to hire rooms for talks and workshops.
  • Fowlmere Recreation Ground and Village Hall £2,000 to replace the remainder of lighting in the Village Hall with LED bulbs.

Cllr Geoff Harvey, Vice Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, said: “This is the fourth round of Zero Carbon Community grant funding we have been able to offer across our district. It is incredible to see the inspirational grass roots project ideas from people with such passion. They all support our vision to meet our zero-carbon target together. The grants show community action at its finest and demonstrate how everyone can play their part in tackling the climate emergency.”

Cllr John Williams, Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Our Zero Carbon Grants not only fund projects which promote a cleaner, greener and zero-carbon future for our communities, they also enable everyone to get involved and inspire others to reduce their carbon footprint. I’m very proud to see our communities in South Cambs take on this task with such enthusiasm. It is the responsibility of all of us to take care of our environment and I am confident these projects will have huge positive benefits across the District.”