£55,000 funding pot could help communities go green

8 November 2017

Money to help community buildings across South Cambridgeshire become more energy efficient and reduce energy could soon be available thanks to a proposed Council grant scheme.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has published a report today (Wednesday 8 November) suggesting a new Community Energy Grant Fund is set up to allow community groups in the district to bid for funding to support their energy saving and green initiatives.

The plans could see the money being available as early as March 2018 – with organisations bidding for funding for initiatives ranging from insulation and lighting and heating controls for community buildings, to the installation of electric vehicle charging points.

Under the plans published a total of £55,000 would be made available each year for parish councils, charities, voluntary groups, sports and social clubs and not-for-profit organisations.

The maximum yearly grant  would be £3,000 per organisation to make sure that the fund is distributed across a wide range of projects throughout the district.

The Council is planning to fund the scheme from the business rates it retains from new renewable energy generation sites with the district so it can return some of the benefits from large scale renewable energy sites to the community.

The Council is also looking to set up a loan scheme so local groups and residents could borrow money to invest in renewable energy schemes locally. The money would be paid back so as many people as possible could benefit and go green.

The loan scheme is being developed and a separate report will be considered by councillors.

The Community Energy Grant Fund report will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet on Thursday 16 November.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The money we retain from  renewable energy business rates gives us a unique opportunity to be creative and maximise community benefit. Community buildings play a key role in supporting South Cambridgeshire’s thriving villages, but we do have a number that are quite old and leak heat. A grant of up to £3,000 could allow significant steps to be taken to make our buildings more energy efficient and warmer so the cost of running them falls and we achieve all the environmental benefits that go with that.

“Our existing community chest grant scheme is hugely popular and we would plan to run this funding pot in a very similar way.”

For more information on the Cabinet report visit the agenda section of our website.