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Go green: scheme announced to encourage communities switch to sustainability

Announced today, a new grant scheme has opened for 2023 to encourage community projects that reduce carbon emissions.  

The popular Zero Carbon Communities grant, which was launched by the South Cambridgeshire District Council is celebrating its fifth year, is back to encourage local individuals to turn over a new leaf by educating them about the current climate crisis.

a body of water with a building in the background

From Monday 3rd April until Friday 2nd June 2023, community groups within the district area have been invited to bid for a share of the £125,000 grant. Previous successful projects who have secured the funding include cooking classes that reduce food waste, tree planting, solar panels for village halls and a community e-bike rental scheme.  

This year, groups in South Cambridgeshire can apply for between £1,000 to £15,000 from the District Council’s total pot of £125,000. The process has been simplified to aid applicants, with applications invited under two categories.

These include:

  • A category for projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions
  • A category for community engagement projects which support and encourage lower carbon living

Cllr Pippa Heylings, Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, said: ‘We are dedicated to tackling the climate emergency so that our district becomes as environmentally friendly as possible – but we can only do this by working together.

‘The amazing ideas which come forward through our Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme help residents take their own action on a very local level.

‘This is crucial because local people know their villages best and know what will work well where they live.’

‘All the schemes we have funded since 2019 have made a real difference to protecting our environment and every single one has helped with our ambitious goal to help South Cambridgeshire at least halve carbon emissions within the decade,’ Cllr Heylings added. ‘If you want to contribute, please look at the online guidance and apply for one of our grants now.’

The Zero Carbon Communities fund is just one of the ways the District Council is supporting South Cambridgeshire shift to a cleaner and greener future. The money the grant offers is also sourced in a sustainable way – it comes from business rates from renewable energy sites, like solar farms within the area, that the Council retains and earmarks for projects like this one.

Image: Chris Boland

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