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Zero Carbon Communities Grant

Zero Carbon Communities Grant

Applications for the Zero Carbon Communities Grant for 2024 are now closed.

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 2 months of the application deadline.

Applications are invited for projects under 2 main themes - Carbon emission reduction or locking up carbon and Community engagement on climate change. 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 that show this are more than just publicity, they are something that will help change behaviour, for example through meetings and surveys, which are likely to 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.

For more information on how to engage your local community with your project, look at our climate emergency toolkit

To find about how to get funding for your project, read about other grants, funding and incentives.

Application deadline: 5pm Sunday 2 June 2024

Read more information about this grant [PDF, 0.4MB]

Download the full guidance for your application [PDF, 0.4MB]

Please note that we cannot award the grant for work undertaken before the receipt of funding. 

Previous Projects

The Zero Carbon Communities Grant has now provided over £500,000 of funding, this video celebrates some of the projects funded since the grant began in 2019.

Here are the projects we have already funded through the Zero Carbon Communities Grant scheme.

Download the PDF of case studies for previous projects [PDF, 0.8MB]

Carbon emission reduction


Wysing Arts Centre

Received £15,000 to install 32 ground-mounted solar PV panels and inverter in a field onsite. This project forms part of the centre’s wider plan for decarbonisation - savings from the solar panels will be used to install heat pumps in each of the Centre’s buildings, helping them move away from dependency on oil.

Village Hall Charity Landbeach

Received £15,000 to install 27 360 watt solar PV panels on the hall’s south facing roof. The village hall has already taken measures to reduce their energy consumption and hope to see further savings on their bills after installation.

Duxford Community Centre

Received £15,000 to install solar PV panels on the community centre’s roof. The building is already heated via air source heat pumps and has energy-efficient LED lighting, and the renewable energy generated in-house by the panels is expected to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 52%, and their energy bills by 26%.

Milton Community Centre and Recreation Ground

Received £8,321.67 to replace the remainder of their indoor and outdoor lighting with energy-efficient LEDs. These updated lights are expected to save 2,648kg of CO2 per annum.

Swavesey Squash Club

Received £1484 to install cavity wall insulation into the external walls of their club building. The insulation has increased the building’s thermal efficiency and made it more comfortable for users.

Hope Against Poverty

Received £15,000 to replace their conventional diesel van with an electric vehicle. Hope Against Poverty operate a mobile food bank, bringing essential food parcels to families in crisis in our rural district. The new van will allow them to continue this work whilst reducing their carbon emissions.

Community engagement on climate change

Cambridge Carbon Footprint

Received £15,000 to continue to develop their network of repair cafes in the district. The grant will support the set up of new cafes in South Cambridgeshire, train volunteers in how to run cafes, and provide them with support and resources to thrive – including a new toolkit supported by local businesses.

CCF also received £11,095 to continue their work supporting individuals and communities to upgrade homes and reduce energy use – providing thermal camera loans, free tours of low carbon homes and a Home Energy Officer to guide people in reducing energy consumption and retrofitting their homes.

Cambridge Sustainable Food

Received £15,000 to develop and extend their network of sustainable food and local growing projects and continue their outreach to educate people around food and greenhouse gas emissions.

Let’s Cook

Received £15,000 to continue their sustainable food education, training 30 reps from 10 community settings to deliver practical cookery sessions with a focus on reducing avoidable food waste.

Carbon emission reduction


Cottenham Parish Council

Received £15,000 to install additional solar PV roof panels and a battery system to their existing 30-panel array allowing the Village Hall to maximise their carbon savings. The visibility of the project will allow it to be an example to others, as well as its advertisement through the newsletter, website and the Fen Edge Festival. The funding was matched by the parish council.

Cottenham Community Centre

Awarded £15,000 for their project to install 33 solar PV roof panels and a battery system on the community centre, building on their previous work to make the building more energy efficient. The project is providing the remaining funding for the project from grants and their own reserves.

Milton Community Centre and Recreation Grounds (MCC)

This project to add solar battery storage to their 35 PV panel array was awarded £13,296 to which the MCC added £1,200. This will benefit local groups, residents and engage trustees and volunteers through managing the project. It will allow the building to reduce grid usage as far as possible.

West Wickham Village Hall

Previously funded in round 3 of the grant scheme, the project was funded £4,000 in round 4, adding to the Hall’s own funding of £9970.40 to install 20 solar PV panels with a battery storage system. This will supply power for the infra-red heading system installed through a previous round of the grant. The project will be delivered through the Solar Together Cambridgeshire scheme.

Hardwick Parish Council

The parish council were funded £5,292 to install two bike sheds and set up an e-bike rental scheme, in partnership with the organisation Cambridge Electric Transport. This will reduce emissions by promoting bike travel, in place of car travel. This builds on the growing network of e-bikes in the district and will improve air quality and encourage healthier lifestyles.

Fowlmere Recreation Ground and Village Hall

Awarded £2,000 to replace the remainder of the lighting in the Village Hall with LEDs, following their previous energy efficiency improvements. This cost reduction will benefit multiple community groups which use the Village Hall.

Harston Village Hall Trust

Funded £8,956 to replace the defective rendering around the building with a layer of 100mm thick insulation to improve thermal efficiency, as part of essential ongoing works. The project will reduce its future running costs, providing a warmer hall for community groups who use it.

Ickleton Village Hall

Awarded £8,000 to install 18 solar PV panels on the hall’s south-facing roof. They will also install a battery system, building on their previous work to increase energy efficiency, including fitted LED lights, installing motion sensors, and more efficient fire doors. The project will be shared through the Open Gardens event, village magazine and social media, with additional funding also being raised through the Open Gardens project.


Community engagement on climate change


Cambridge Carbon Footprint

Following the delivery of their Net Zero Now programme, funded in round 1 of the ZCC grant scheme, CCF have been funded £15,000 for a second round of the series. It will train and recruit 40 climate leaders in 20 new villages in the district, equipping them with the tools and confidence to deliver climate action in their community and refine the programme. Twelve graduate climate leaders will be supported through the project.

Cambridge Sustainable Food

Awarded £11,318 to build on their 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 i.e., those on low incomes.


This community organisation was granted £14,131 to build a mobile Library of Things that visits Swavesey and surrounding villages to loan equipment and tools to people. It will be a self-sustaining and mobile facility promoting a circular economy and culture of re-use in the direct, and wider community.

Let's Cook

Funded £15,000 for their project, whereby 30 representatives from 10 community-facing settings will attend a one-day training event. Attendees will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver practical cookery sessions with their own beneficiaries, with a focus on reducing avoidable food waste.

Sustainable Northstowe 

This community group was funded £1,551 to secure their projects, events and engagement with the community for the next 3 years. They aim to create a website to showcase events and projects, plus gain funding to be able to hire rooms for talks/workshops.

Community Buildings


Shepreth Parish Council with Shepreth Village Hall Committee

Received £9,495 for the installation of 12 solar panels and battery storage, allowing them to become 100% supplied by renewables. This benefited the community’s use of the hall and enabled education around renewable energy.

Girton Parish Council

Awarded £15,000 to install underfloor heating and a heating pump in their pavilion. They plan to engage the community through signage, their monthly newsletter, and through the school. The ZCC funding makes up part of the £25,294 project.

West Wickham Village Hall

West Wickham Village Hall were granted £9,000 to replace their gas boiler and electric convector radiators with infra-red heating panels. This contributes to their plans to transition to Net Zero, which includes installing LED lighting and fitting a solar PV array. Their project is regularly communicated through their monthly village newsletter Village Voice. The Village Hall contributed £5,759, and the parish council provided an additional £1,000 on top of the funds provided by the ZCC grant.



Willingham Parish Council

Awarded £4,161 to replace a 1000m2 weed bed with a wildflower meadow of varied grasses and perennials on the eastern edge of the QEII playing field. The project will sequester carbon and enhance the biodiversity of the area. Previously awarded £13,142 to install infra-red heating in the Ploughman hall, the group regularly engages with local volunteers and groups through surveys, nature trails and signposting. The project is supplemented by £2,000 of their own funds and in-kind contributions.

Cambridge Past, Present and Future

Cambridge Past, Present and Future received £3,521 adding to £1,355 of self-funding, to coppice and restore two acres of woodland at Wandlebury Country Park. As well as planting 50 new native whips, they created deadwood habitats where wood was left to rot down and sequester carbon. The remaining coppiced wood will heat their education centre and be sold locally. This project involved 30 volunteers including those from another funded project, Headway Cambridgeshire. This work will educate their 100,000 park visitors, visiting schools, social media followers and newsletter recipients.

Little Shelford Community Orchard and Woodland Project

Having received £3,165 in Round 2 of the grant scheme, Little Shelford Community Orchard and Woodland Project received £1,780 in this funding round to plant 11 fruit trees, hedgerows and at least 2 more cuts of wildflower meadow to create a wildlife corridor.

Great Shelford Parochial Charities

Awarded £4,610 for their project to landscape six acres of land to plant 22 mature native trees and 2,000 bulbs. These were planted by volunteers for the enjoyment of the whole village. This project will increase biodiversity and raise awareness by engaging children and residents.

Fen Ditton Parish Council

Received £3,000 to plant 400 hedgerow whips and 33 trees on three areas of land in the area by community volunteers. The hedgerows will create wildlife corridors and increase biodiversity.

Headway Cambridgeshire

This charity has been awarded £5,000 to create a community orchard by planting and maintaining 40 organic apple trees and hedgerows at Fen End Lane Farm in Cottenham. The project will benefit from cookery sessions, a horticultural therapist, and a community support worker. Apples grown will be donated to Cambridge Sustainable Food, another ZCC-funded project. Headway Cambridgeshire funded £7,800 from their own reserves and donations.

Linton Parish Council

Linton Parish Council was granted £2,828 to create a central Community Orchard in the Village, and to add extra trees to the pocket park (often visited for educational purposes). 38 native trees will enhance biodiversity and canopy cover in the village. This project is supported by the school, who will make bat and bird boxes and wildflower areas, and the local Tree Warden, who will carry out tree audits. 20% of the total project costs are funded by the parish council.



Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC

As a previous recipient of ZCC funding in Round 1, Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC used their £8,541 funding to put on various events and activities with the aim of encouraging a shift to more climate-friendly diets. This included four live cookery demonstrations at the Fen Edge Festival in June 2022, Disco Soup and Climate Diet Assembly at Cottenham Primary School, Ready, Steady, Cook at a Community Centre and Café and two climate diet cookery workshops with Centre School.

Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth Climate Emergency Group

Awarded £2,860 to build and maintain a website alongside community engagement to educate and engage parishioners in climate change. They aim to encourage the community to make changes to their lifestyles to become Net Zero Carbon by 2050. This website will signpost individuals to support for individual behaviour change and will provide a Book Café alternative for those without a computer.

Northstowe Horticultural Association

Having previously received funding for their Tree Planting project in Round 2, Northstowe Horticultural Association received £10,000 to purchase and install a community building. This will be used as a community space for small meetings, and a storage space for gardening equipment. Northstowe Horticultural Association regularly engages community volunteers in sessions which educates both children and adults and promotes healthy, sustainable lifestyles, whilst reducing food miles and cutting down on waste.



Babraham Parish Council

Received £9,835 to help create a ‘Forest Garden’ to be located on approximately 0.7 hectares of Babraham Institute managed land for growing edible and usable produce.

Barrington Parish Council

Received £2,037 to create the ‘Barrington Community Forest Garden’, consisting of 6 East Anglian fruit and nut trees, 10 berry and currant bushes, plus other herbs and shrubs.

Eltisley Parish Council

Awarded £5,367 to create new woodlands to act as a carbon sink, improve the environment and create a green amenity space for the village to enjoy. 300 saplings have now been planted in the churchyard, and the parish council plan to establish wildflower areas on 4 verges and entrances to the village, to increase biodiversity.

Foxton Parish Council

Received £834 working with Friends of Dovecot and Friends of Foxton Woods, to create seedbeds for more drought resistant wildflower species to grow in Dovecot meadow. Situated next to Foxton Primary School, the site is ideally located to enable the teaching of the history, ecology and biodiversity.

Gamlingay Parish Council

Received funding of £5,965 for the ‘Grow Gamlingay’ project which aims to steadily increase the tree canopy of Gamlingay Parish over the next 10 years. In year one they will plant 'A Tiny Forest' (600 trees in a 200 metre-squared area), set up the Gamlingay Tree trail, and a community tree nursery.

Great Shelford Parish Council

Received £5,750 to plant eight mature trees in their new play area (playscape). This was planned to be built on the recreation ground in 2021. Also, to employ a tree consultant to develop a planting guide for currently underutilised areas of the recreation ground; identifying any further tree planting sites around the village centre.

Little Shelford Community Orchard and Woodland Project (SCOWP)

This group received £3,165 to manage the planning, implementation, and maintenance of a community woodland/orchard on the land known as 'Blennies Patch' on behalf of the landowners (Little Shelford Parish Council).

Funding is for phase one of this two phase project, which has already started. Blennies Patch has been cleared and prepared, and 200 whips (to form hedgerows), nine apple trees, several small oaks and three silver birch trees were planted. Bird boxes have been put up and there have been sightings of barn owls, muntjac deer and grass snakes.

Little Wilbraham and 6 Mile Bottom Parish Council

Received £1,125 for all three phases of their project to plant 5 trees, create paths at the rec and the 'pits' and plant vegetation on verges around the village. They work with Wilbraham’s Environment Group on this project which forms part of a larger project known as 'Wilding the Wilbrahams' with Great Wilbraham.

Northstowe Horticultural Association

Received, £5,800 to create a community garden and orchard that can be used by all local residents to learn about growing their own fruit and vegetables. Find out more on the Northstowe Horticultural Association Facebook page.

Sawston Parish Council

Received £2,792 to pay for a tree consultant to develop planting guides for 12 separate green spaces spread across Sawston Village and provide additional support for their community planting events. Funding will also be used for wildflower plantings to increase biodiversity. This project is being undertaken as a partnership between Sawston Parish Council and Green Groups in the Shelfords, Stapleford and Sawston (2G3S).





Received £2,000 to provide support, advice, resources and connections to enable South Cambridgeshire residents to organise, plan and apply for funding and traffic regulation orders for their local schools. This project, known as School Streets, will reduce carbon emissions through fewer car journeys and reduced congestion during school start and finish times. With the additional benefit of helping to create a safer environment for children at these times.

Cottenham Parish Council

Received £1,500 for the Installation of secure cycle stands at two community spaces: one at the North and one at the South of the village.

Fowlmere Parish Council

Received £2,690 to install 14 cycle stands in four key public locations in the village to promote and encourage cycling.

Great Abington Parish Council

Received £2,055 in round one for their project to reduce car roundtrips from the Abingtons by switching to Electric Bikes through an awareness-raising/promotional weekend and purchase of an e-bike for extended free trials by parishioners of Great Abington, Little Abington and Hildersham, over a 12-month period. The e-bike scheme is proving to be very popular, being out on loan 100% of the time.

In 2020 they received further funding of £3,050 to Kickstart a commercial share-bike scheme with bikes and expertise provided by Cambridge Electric Transport.

Milton Cycling Campaign

Milton Cycling Campaign received £15,000 to provide high quality cycle parking stands at key sites in Milton parish or on a habitual commuting route for Milton residents. By prioritising sites which will attract more cycle traffic, the grant money will be used to offer a reimbursement scheme for those organisations whose racks will get used often, and have provided sufficient publicity on how to reduce routine car use in Milton.


Community buildings


St John the Evangelist Parish Church, Waterbeach

Received £15,000 to install an air source heat pump, solar PV and an energy monitor in their church room (constructed in 1970s to 1980s) which is connected to the main church and is well used by the local community. The church belongs to the Eco Church scheme, under which publicity on the part of the church is encouraged to demonstrate the benefits of “eco” initiatives. They will also use “Explore” days, church services and local events to demonstrate and communicate benefits, as a way of informing the village community and encouraging people to take up “eco” developments.

Willingham Parish Council

Received £13,142 to install infra-red heating panels in their multi-use village hall (Ploughman Hall) which had no gas supply and relied on inefficient convection panels for heating. The panels are now installed, and they look forward to reduced heating costs and more efficient heating of the hall.



Cambourne Town Council

Received £2,538 and planted 1,200 young trees and shrubs around the Great Cambourne cricket outfield in February 2020. Residents and pupils from Cambourne Village College helped the town council by volunteering their time to help with planting.

Great Wilbraham Parish Council

Received £1,000 for phase 1 of their project which is to plant 6 standard oak trees in the village.

Histon and Impington Trees Action Group (known as HI Trees)

Received £6,500 to restore woodland that was destroyed in the A14 expansion project. The initial planting of 1,000 trees and 750 metres of hedges was initially delayed due to COVID. With the use of a COVID-safe contractor the project was able to plant about two-thirds of the planned trees with the remaining being planted by volunteers. More information can be found on the Hi Hub webpage.

Orwell Benefice

Received £4,150 for their project known as the Orwell Living food bank. The project, which links local people using existing church-based food boxes to a programme that enables them to build local vegetable plots. Despite difficulties caused by both the weather and lockdown, the project has planted heritage seeds and fruit trees, with the help of donated tools and plants, as well as linking in with all the food banks in the villages.

Whittlesford Parish Council

Received £3,611 to plant 80 trees to absorb carbon, increase biodiversity, and inspire residents to take climate change seriously. The 80 trees have been planted including a Native Hornbeam to celebrate the Village Hall’s 100-year anniversary.



Cambridge Cohousing

The cohousing community undertake environmental initiatives for the benefit of both the cohousing community and residents of Orchard Park. They received £5,000 and purchased and launched an electric cargo bike which is now in use by Orchard Park residents and local non-profit groups. The 'trike', is decorated in eye-catching artwork to highlight climate change, and has been used in a community litter pick.

CycleStreets Ltd

Received £10,000 for a project to combine ‘PlanIt’, a national aggregator of Local Authority planning application data with ‘Cyclescape’, a site enabling local people to crowdsource long-desired changes to street infrastructure. The user-friendly website, known as StreetFocus, will auto-identify cases for planning gain.

Fen Ditton Parish Council

Received £1,500 for the installation of a cycle rack and a water fountain in Fen Ditton. The cycle rack and water fountain have both been installed.

Great Abington Parish Council

Received £2,055 in round one for their project to reduce car round-trips from the Abingtons by switching to Electric Bikes through an Awareness-raising/promotional weekend and purchase of an e-bike for extended free trials by parishioners of Great Abington, Little Abington and Hildersham over a 12-month period. The e-bike scheme is proving to be very popular, being out on loan 100% of the time.

In round 2 they received further funding of £3,050 to Kickstart a commercial share-bike scheme with bikes and expertise provided by Cambridge Electric Transport.

Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership

Received £6,500 for a two story cycle rack (30 bikes) including CCTV cameras and a cycle repair café at Meldreth Station. The project is accompanied by a cycle repair café.

Papworth Trust

Received £13,392 to provide Pop Up Bike Shops and Safe Cycling and Repair Workshops outreaching to local communities across South Cambridgeshire. The company ‘Owl Bikes’ support disabled adults to develop the practical skills of customer service, IT and bike mechanics.  

Teversham Parish Council

Received £14,477 for the Teversham Cycle Plan and now have four subsidised community e-bikes (‘bizbikes’) supplied by Cambridge Electric Transport with lockers across the housing estates and commuting nodes of the parish. Four further cycle stands have also been installed to serve Teversham village businesses, the school and social club. A community engagement day took place on 24 October 2020 to raise awareness of the cycle plan and its environmental, economic and health benefits.

Waterbeach Cycling Campaign

Received £1,200 and with some additional funds from Waterbeach Parish Council. Three sets of cycle stands have been installed in the centre of Waterbeach village with a campaign targeted at villagers to encourage them to cycle rather than drive to the village.  Publicity has been provided on the local Facebook page and the Waterbeach Cycling Campaign website.



Cambridge Carbon Footprint

Received £15,000 for their Net Zero Now project - a scheme to train and support community climate leaders across the district. The programme provided free training in effective carbon reduction strategies for local communities.

Cambridge Sustainable Food

Received £15,000 towards their Food for Our Future campaign to raise awareness of the issues and encourage practical solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of food. The campaign and challenge were adapted so that they could still continue with the COVID restrictions in place. The online campaign launched on Saturday 24 October 2020 with a food waste challenge, cookery workshops, recipes, talks and storytelling-all to support families in reducing their food waste. They also ran a community focused meat reduction campaign in early Summer 2021.

Gamlingay Eco Community Group

Received £2,129 to offer plastic free alternatives with a monthly pop-up shop offering a range of plastic free household products for the community to try for free then buy. They have also started to present online sessions on plastic pollution, the first of which took place in September 2020, when they met online with Gamlingay Brownies. Find out more on the Gamlingay Eco Community Group Facebook page.

Ickleton Village Hall committee

New energy efficient lighting on the inside of the roof of Ickleton Village Hall. Received, £8,387 and in May 2020 replaced all the current lighting in the village hall with low energy equivalents.

Melbourn Parish Council

Received £6,000 for their project with Melbourn Village College to reduce single plastic water bottle usage by providing six anti-vandal water bottle refill stations on at Melbourn Village College. Pupils now regularly use the stations to refill their water bottles and continue to champion green initiatives in the school, such as ‘Meat-free Mondays’.

Sustainable Cottenham

Received £2,520 and already worked with Cambridge Sustainable Food with their Food Waste Challenge back in Autumn 2020. They are currently developing the rest of their Eco Eats Campaign and festival to encourage sustainable eating and the urgent need to reduce the carbon footprint of food production, distribution and waste. The Eco Eats Working Group hoped that this festival would have been feasible in Autumn 2021. They will also be helping with the Cambridge Sustainable Food’s ‘Food for our Future’ campaign in early summer. An Eco Eats recipe book is currently being developed, too.


Previous webinars

Watch previous Zero Carbon Communities Grant webinars below. 

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