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Community Climate Grants for community groups to move towards a Zero Carbon Cumbria

Andrew Gilbert

Andrew Gilbert

Posted on 26 November 2021

A new Community Climate Grant fund of £100,000, backed by the National Lottery, is being launched by Cumbria Action for Sustainability this month to help local community groups fight climate change. The new fund is supported by Allerdale Borough Council, who have pledged an additional £10,000 towards carbon reducing projects led by voluntary sector groups in the Allerdale area.

Groups can now apply for grants ranging from £200 to £10,000, for projects and events to raise awareness of the urgent need to stop climate change and to reduce carbon emissions from energy use, land use, waste and transport.

The grants are part of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership’s ambitious emission reduction programme to make Cumbria carbon neutral by 2037.

Sally Lansbury, Keswick town councillor and Allerdale Borough Councillor, who chairs the district council's Climate Change Working Group, said ‘I am delighted that Allerdale Borough Council has been able to support this initiative to increase the level of funding available for community action on climate change. We have a real opportunity to address local concerns around the impact of climate change by tackling the cause of the problem, and I would urge groups to come forward with their ideas around how we can reduce carbon emissions in our patch.’

CAfS chief executive, Karen Mitchell, said: ‘The aim of the climate grants is to help communities to reduce carbon emissions, supporting local groups to bring about changes that will contribute to reaching net zero carbon in Cumbria while also benefiting local people. Getting people out of their cars and walking, using bikes or public transport, or sharing car use with others, are examples of actions that tackle climate change but also help householders by saving money on their petrol or diesel bills and getting some fresh air in the process. Similarly, an initiative like a repair cafe helps to reduce waste and the need to buy new things, while also saving money.'

The launch of the new grants comes as the UN climate conference in Glasgow draws to a close, highlighting the need for action at all levels - from governments to communities.

'The government pledges from COP26 in Glasgow will have some impact on the climate emergency, but we know that change must also come from local communities,' Karen said. 'As well as supporting practical projects to cut carbon, the fund will also help to build awareness of the actions people can take. We would particularly like to hear from new groups starting up in communities that haven’t had the opportunity to tackle these issues before, as we can support their development.’

Nick Gardner, Head of Climate Action at The National Lottery Community Fund, says: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we’re able to support CAfS to reach community groups who are working towards creating a zero carbon Cumbria. Community groups in Cumbria will be able to bring their climate action work to life by accessing this new Community Climate Grant fund.

“Communities across the UK have an important role to play in supporting the UK to get to its Net Zero target, and by taking climate action we are not only making significant environmental improvements but are also helping people and communities prosper and thrive.”

Most grants will be awarded in small amounts, with a straightforward application process that's been designed with community groups in mind. Funding of £750 can be available within a matter of days for projects that meet the eligibility criteria, with medium grants of up to £2,000 being assessed and awarded within a month. A small number of larger grants of up to £10,000 will also be made to projects that are judged to have the most impact on carbon-saving. The grants are open to not-for-profit groups based in Cumbria.

'We're particularly keen to hear from organisations in areas where there isn't an established environmental sustainability group,' Karen said. 'We'd also encourage applications from groups that work with people who are likely to be most affected by climate change.'

CAfS is running the grant scheme in partnership with the Cumbria Sustainability Network of more than a dozen community groups from across the county that are working to tackle climate change.

'We're very grateful to volunteers from these groups for their support in helping to design the application process and set the eligibility criteria, making sure the grants have the needs of community groups at their heart,' Karen said. There are full details about the grant fund at the CAFS website .