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Zero Carbon Cumbria – Community Climate Grants

Zero Carbon Cumbria – Community Climate Grants2024-02-05T14:53:37+00:00

Zero Carbon Cumbria – Community Climate Grants

The Zero Carbon Cumbria Community Climate Grants scheme is a small funding pot to support local initiatives to raise awareness of climate change and reduce carbon emissions. It aims to be very flexible and easy to access for local not-for-profit groups that want to support the aims of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership.  With support from the National Lottery Community fund and the former Cumbria district of Allerdale and South Lakeland, we have been able to support 38 projects so far, helping new sustainability groups get off the ground and funding a wide range of activities, from community ebike hire, youth projects, food waste projects, repair cafes, veg planting and more.    Funding for projects seeking to cut carbon or raise awareness of climate change will continue to be allocated through 2024, so please get in touch with your ideas and we can support you to make a successful application.

We are particularly keen to reach out to groups based in Copeland, and to offer support to groups working alongside more vulnerable individuals who will be hit hardest by climate change.

The aim of the funding is to get as many people as possible to ‘do their bit’ to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Have a look at CAfS’ carbon calculator to get an idea of which activities produce the most carbon dioxide or methane, and think about what you and your community could do to address this.

Small (£200 – £750) and medium (£750 – £2,000) will be awarded to local groups until 2025.

Advice and support is available to help groups apply for the funding. Please get in touch with [email protected] to tell us about your ideas and how we can help you. You can also watch our webinars in which we explain in more detail the eligibility and process for attaining the funding.

Webinar links:

Please also read our Guidance for applicants.

New groups or individuals who are thinking about setting up a group are also encouraged to get in touch – we can offer advice on how to get started.  We may be able to put you in touch with other communities who run successful projects elsewhere or link you into other helpful agencies such as the Cumbria Council for Voluntary Services, Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership or ACT (Action with communities in Cumbria).

Making an application

***Please remember to download and save your application form before you start filling it in. You will then need to send to [email protected] together with your accompanying documents.***

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National Lottery Community Fund logo

Applications for funding are welcome at any time. Small and medium grants will be assessed on a rolling basis so there is no deadline for your application. Just click on the ‘apply for a grant’ button to download the relevant application forms. Our aim will be to get a decision back to you as quickly as possible.

You are encouraged to read the Frequently Asked Questions by clicking on the relevant headings below. Our detailed ‘Guidance for Applicants’ aims to give you all the detail that you may need to make an application.

If you need any support on thinking and planning what you might like to develop, you can get in touch with CAfS to discuss this at any time. Just contact: [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the fund aimed at?2022-05-18T15:36:37+01:00

The Zero Carbon Cumbria Community Climate Grants aim to support community groups and smaller grassroots organisations in Cumbria, especially those connecting with new audiences on climate change. We anticipate the fund being used for activities that spread awareness, build capacity, help people to take action, and which contribute to building and growing local community involvement in work which will achieve the goal of net zero carbon in Cumbria by 2037. (This means that Cumbria will no longer be contributing to harmful climate change and levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will start to stabilise we will have a better chance of keeping global warming under the desired temperature rise of 1.5C).

We are particularly interested in applications from geographic areas or communities that have not previously had access to funds to develop projects which tackle the climate crisis.  If you are thinking about applying and need some help with planning and writing your proposal, please do email [email protected]

What type of organisations can apply?2022-05-18T15:38:48+01:00

Organisations must be based in Cumbria and must be locally controlled.  Only not-for-profit groups can apply and normally these will have one of the following structures:

  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) 
  • Charitable Trust / Charity
  • Co-Operative Society 
  • Community Benefit Society 
  • Community Interest Company limited by Guarantee
  • Community Interest Company limited by Shares 
  • Company limited by Guarantee
  • Unincorporated Association/Organisation with charitable aims

Applicants also need to show that they have a clear environmental or sustainability objective either within their aims, within an environmental policy or within their current action plans.   

If your organisation does not fulfil this requirement you might like to consider forming a partnership with a local sustainability group.  Please see guidance on forming a partnership  and also CAfS’ website for details of local groups: Sustainability groups in Cumbria – CAfS 


What type of proposals are you looking for?2022-05-18T15:46:48+01:00
  • All applications must demonstrate value for money and will either be for practical projects which will reduce carbon emissions, promote changes in behaviour within your local community, or development work to set up a new group or improve the skills of an existing group.
  • Any practical or ‘delivery’ projects should show how they will use their work to raise awareness and promote more engagement in work to tackle carbon emissions.

Delivery projects should be focused on:

  • Reducing carbon emissions including those relating to energy use, food, buying things and/or travel.
  • Engaging with more people and building knowledge and understanding of climate change within your community.
  • Linking with other projects or activities which will help achieve the target of a Zero Carbon Cumbria by 2037.

Development projects which help new and existing sustainability groups should:

  • Develop skills and knowledge that will help you have more impact, such as skilling up to respond to consultations / making planning objections, conducting surveys, gaining media and communications skills, setting up a website and organising online events
  • Build capacity, for example by recruiting more volunteers/members so that the group can take on more activities

You can apply for a wide range of different types of expenditure including:

    1. Salaries and running costs
    2. Publicity and promotion including website costs
    3. Engagement activities
    4. Equipment and refurbishment

Please see our Guidance Notes for applicants for further details.

How do we apply?2022-05-18T15:56:33+01:00
  1. Plan your project with other members of your group and think about how you will answer the questions in the application form before you fill it in. For example,  you could construct a word document that you could use to ‘cut and paste’ into the form:
  • Contact details – email, phone, address, website if applicable
  • Summary of the project/event/activity you plan to do
  • What do you hope this will achieve?
  • How will you know if your project has been a success?
  • What costs do you need help with from the Zero Carbon Cumbria funding?
  • Do you have exact quotes for the costs – if not, could you get copies of these?

2. Download an application form

Make sure that you are filling in the right form for the amount of money that you are applying for.

3. Fill in the application and complete with a signature. By signing the application form, you are confirming that you have read and agreed with all the terms and conditions of the grant, including a commitment to provide a monitoring report on your achievements. 

4. Return to [email protected] together with any necessary additional documents, including your constitution and bank account details, and a recent bank statement (he large grants process is currently under review).

How will applications be evaluated?2022-05-18T16:01:36+01:00

We have a strong focus on helping grassroots community groups and would like to fund projects which will increase the breadth and depth of activity around climate change in Cumbria.

This means that we are particularly interested in supporting new groups – so if this is the first ever funding bid that you’ve made or you’re finding the process confusing, don’t worry as we’ll be able to help you through the application.  Just get in touch with [email protected] to find out more.

The types of things that we will look at when we assess your application are:

Does the project reach communities with additional needs for support?

We would like to support groups which haven’t received funding to work on climate change issues before.  In particular we would like to see proposals which will help people who could be disproportionally affected by climate change such as people on low incomes/benefits, young people, older or disabled people, people in insecure housing situations, migrants and/or or refugees. We will give extra weight to applications from groups based in an area without an established sustainability group.

‘Fit’ with the fund

We will look at whether your proposed project fits within the aims of the fund.  Does it support for activities which will reduce carbon emissions and will it engage more people and/or build knowledge and understanding of climate change?  Does it link in well with other projects being delivered as part of the Zero Carbon Cumbria programme, such as the work with young people, or the ‘eat local grow local’ project? We are particularly keen to support projects which will enable lots of people from your local community to get involved.

Is it a good idea and will your organisation be able to make a success of the project?

Depending on the type of project and how much money you are asking for, we might also look at whether the group has enough experience / expert support to make the project a success.  This should not put you off applying if you are from a brand new group! We’d like to see some creative, inspiring new ideas which might be reaching out to involve a new audience – but also know that you might need funding for basic costs. We’d also like to know about your partnership plans if you are teaming up with others to deliver your project.

Value for money

All projects supported with Lottery funding have to show that they represent value for money.  For example – how many people will be involved? Will your project benefit one family, or a whole street or village?  Does your budget look realistic? What will be the expected level of carbon saving (if any)?  Please note that we are also happy to fund work to support your development as a group, and this could mean employing a trainer or consultant to help build your skills.  It might be worth checking if this work be delivered more cheaply / for free by using existing resources – for example, by joining in with free training delivered elsewhere or by seeking practical help from another group who may have already successfully delivered a similar project.

Are there any restrictions on what we can apply for?2022-05-18T16:02:58+01:00

There are some things which we cannot fund with National Lottery money.

Ineligible expenditure includes:

  1. payment that supports lobbying or activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, Government or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action (any lobbying activity);
  2. using grant funding to petition for additional funding;
  3. input VAT reclaimable by Grant Recipient from HMRC;
  4. payments for activities of a political or exclusively religious nature (we can fund religious organisations if your programme benefits the wider community and doesn’t include religious content);
  5. payments reimbursed or to be reimbursed by other public or private sector grants;
  6. contributions in kind (i.e. a contribution in goods or services, as opposed to money);
  7. the acquisition or improvement of fixed assets by the Grant Recipient (unless the grant is explicitly for capital use – this will be stipulated in the Grant Offer Letter);
  8. gifts to individuals other than promotional items with a value of no more than £25 a year to any one individual;
  9. entertaining (entertaining for this purpose means anything that would be a taxable benefit to the person being entertained, according to current UK tax regulations);
  10. statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties;
  11. liabilities incurred by the Grant Recipient before the issue of this Grant Agreement unless agreed in writing by the Fund. Liabilities incurred by an Onward Recipient might be eligible to improve a Grant Recipient’s liquidity in line with the objectives of the Programme;
  12. use in respect of costs reimbursed or to be reimbursed by funding from any other source;
  13. use to purchase buildings or land;
  14. activities that make profits for private gain;
  15. campaigning activities or loan payments.

The above restrictions may cause some concern for groups who are taking action to change legislation on climate change matters.  We recognise that campaigning is a legitimate activity for groups seeking to raise awareness of the climate crisis and influence politicians at every level to take urgent action to address our concerns. The intention is that projects supported through the Zero Carbon Cumbria Community Climate Grants should be politically impartial in the sense that they do not directly support any political party, and grant holders must also act in line with charity law (which permits campaigning activity in line with your charitable objectives).

The National Lottery Climate Action fund recommend that organisations consider the following points when engaging in political and campaigning activity:

  • We expect the organisations that we fund to be run non-politically. Campaigning should be based on reasoned argument and in support of your objects, not the personal opinions of the people who run your organisation.
  • Your staff, members and volunteers can publish or share personal opinions as part of a wider debate around an issue, but it must be clear that these are personal opinions and not your organisation’s view.
  • Campaigning should be based on objective research and relevant expert opinion, and it should reflect the experience and the needs of those who benefit from the work of your organisation.
  • You can only use grant funding for campaigning if this was included in your application. When using grant funding for campaigning you should be proportionate when allocating resources to support campaigning and be realistic about its prospects of success.

Direct criticism of individuals(including politicians) should be avoided.

Further information regarding charity law can be found here.  

If you have any questions about what is an acceptable use of grant funding, please get in touch with [email protected] to discuss before submitting your application. 

What do we do if we’re setting up a new group?2022-08-02T10:49:49+01:00

The Cumbria Sustainability Network Coordinator would be pleased to help you, please contact [email protected]. You can also access help from a number of sources including :  

Cumbria Council for Voluntary Services: Cumbria CVS offers help, advice, training and support to third sector groups throughout Cumbria.  They have lots of really useful guidance on their website:  

Development | Cumbria CVS 

Action with Communities in Cumbria has a particular focus on supporting communities in rural areas: Rural and community development charity for Cumbria – Action with Communities in Cumbria, Penrith, Cumbria (cumbriaaction.org.uk) 

They have many useful resources on their website, including how to set up a new group:  

Setting up a group Cumbria – Action with Communities in Cumbria, Penrith, Cumbria (cumbriaaction.org.uk) 

Where can we get support to develop a project and make an application?2022-05-18T16:04:35+01:00

If you have an idea of what activities you want to deliver, please get in touch with Cumbria Sustainability Network Coordinator via [email protected] to look at how we might be able to support you to get started.  You will need to think through how to deliver your project, put together a project plan and budget, and will need to put processes in place to enable to report back on what you have achieved.

There are a number of organisations based in Cumbria (and nationally) which provide information and support on how to set up a new group, as well as information on where else you may be able to apply for funding once you are up and running.

Help to get started or to strengthen your organisation

Depending on the type of organisation, you can access help from a number of sources including :

Cumbria Council for Voluntary Services: Cumbria CVS offers help, advice, training and support to third sector groups throughout Cumbria.  They have lots of really useful guidance on their website:

Development | Cumbria CVS

ACT -Action with Communities in Cumbria has a particular focus on supporting communities in rural areas: Rural and community development charity for Cumbria – Action with Communities in Cumbria, Penrith, Cumbria (cumbriaaction.org.uk)

They have many useful resources on their website, including how to set up a new group:

Setting up a group Cumbria – Action with Communities in Cumbria, Penrith, Cumbria (cumbriaaction.org.uk)


Where else can I apply to gain additional funds?2021-11-17T17:59:50+00:00

The Zero Carbon Cumbria Community Climate Grants are not the only source of funding which might be able to support your work.  There are many other trusts and grant making bodies that could contribute towards you achieving your goals, including Cumbria Community Foundation Cumbria Community Foundation – Connecting People Who Care With Causes That Matter (cumbriafoundation.org)

The Lake District Foundation has a range of funds available including a Low Carbon Lake District fund which could be used as matched funding Apply for a Grant – Lake District Foundation

Landfill tax is donated to Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust to support local groups: Grant Info – Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust (cwmet.org.uk)

There are also national funding streams also available and you can apply directly to the National Lottery via their Awards for All fund:  National Lottery Awards for All England | The National Lottery Community Fund (tnlcommunityfund.org.uk)

Local authorities often have a pot of funding to support community groups:

For example, please see Cumbria County Council’s website: Community Grants | Cumbria County Council

Local funds

There may be additional funding available in specific areas, for example Low Carbon Barrow will have grants available over the next 2 years: Low Carbon Barrow – Art Gene (art-gene.co.uk) and there is funding and additional support available for West Cumbria: Cumbria Community Foundation – Connecting People Who Care With Causes That Matter (cumbriafoundation.org)

CAfS is also distributing some additional funding from Allerdale Borough Council in line with the priorities identified through the ZCC Grassroots Community Fund.

How do we construct a budget for our project?2022-02-01T11:50:00+00:00

It’s important that you think through carefully what funding you are likely to need for your project and can demonstrate ‘value for money’.

Start off by writing a list of all the items that you are likely to need to pay for. Estimate the cost of each item of expenditure as accurately as you can. If you have been running the same activities for a while, you can base your estimates on previous years – but remember to increase them in line with inflation.  Keep notes of how you arrive at your figures.  For example, note down that ‘hall hire’ is a known cost based on 26 weeks or that the figure for insurance is a rough estimate based on a quick search on the internet. The notes will be invaluable when you need to explain your figures to other members of your group or with CAfS.  Once you’ve constructed a draft budget, it’s important that you discuss it with your group and agree it at a meeting.

When you have finalised your budget, this will help you to make financial decisions and keep control of your spending during your project.  It means that it is unlikely that you’ll run out of money by mistake, but it could mean that you need to plan in more fundraising to sustain or develop the project further!

Please see our Guidance Notes for applicants for further details.

Can we apply for more than one Community Climate Grant?2022-08-26T12:04:48+01:00

In the interests of ensuring that we get a good spread of CCG applications from new groups and areas, we will restrict the total number of smaller grants over the lifetime of the fund.  We can award a maximum of three small grants per group – up to a total amount of £2,000. Or a maximum of two medium grants per group – up to a total amount of £3,000. If you wish to apply for a combination of small and medium grants, the total amount should not exceed £3,000. This restriction does not prohibit groups who have previously been successful in achieving small or medium grant funding from applying for large grants (up to £10,000) when those funding rounds are announced.  Please get in touch with [email protected] if you have any queries regarding this policy.

Can we apply for money for core costs for our group?2022-05-18T16:07:44+01:00

The Zero Carbon Cumbria Community Climate Grants can be used to fund project costs such as staffing costs, room hire, refreshments, promotion, publicity etc.  (these are known as revenue costs) or capital costs such as equipment, but excluding the purchase of vehicles, buildings, and land.

If an organisation is starting up, or is very small, we recognise that it will be difficult to separate a specific project from the organisation as a whole and therefore core costs are eligible.

For larger organisations, the fund will consider supporting indirect project costs e.g. an appropriate contribution towards the organisational overheads for an existing group to enable full cost recovery for their project, but this is limited to a maximum of 15% of the value of the grant.

Can we make an application if we don’t have a constitution or bank account?2021-11-25T09:50:34+00:00

We would like to support very small groups to get set up and recognise that not everyone will have established a constitution or a bank account.  If you require a very small amount of money (i.e. less than £200) one option could be for CAfS to pay an invoice directly for you, please get in touch with [email protected] as CAfS or other members of the Cumbria Sustainability Network may be able to help in other ways.

Another idea might be to link with a partner organisation in your community and work together on your project.  Please see guidance on developing a partnership agreement which you will need in place before you apply.


What if our project is working with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults?2022-05-18T16:09:49+01:00

If your project involves working with children, young people or adults at risk, you must think through what additional safeguarding risks that this could create and must develop safeguarding policies and procedures appropriate for the type of project you plan to undertake.

The National Lottery’s expectations for grant-holders are detailed here.

More information on developing a Safeguarding policy and procedures can by obtained from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations: NCVO – Safeguarding

Cumbria CVS regularly provide training on Safeguarding for voluntary organisations, and have a number of templates on their website including Child Protection  and Adult Safeguarding policies: Development | Cumbria CVS

What happens if we get the funding?2022-02-01T11:52:46+00:00
  • You will receive the funding by BACS.  Alternatively, if you have agreed that CAfS will pay an invoice, send it directly to [email protected].
  • We will send you the details of the National Lottery logo to put on your publicity/information about your project. 
  • After you have completed your project we will require you to complete and send back a monitoring report
What will we need to do at the end of the project?2021-11-25T09:54:25+00:00

Keeping records of activities funded through the Zero Carbon Cumbria Community Climate Grant is essential to : 

  • Keep track of your progress and make sure you are achieving what you set out to do 
  • Be accountable to the National Lottery Climate Action Fund (which has provided the resources to CAfS / ZCC to deliver this funding programme) 
  • Enable CAfS / ZCC to demonstrate the overall impact of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Community Climate Grant (by adding your contribution to that of others) 
  • Build up a good record of delivery which will help you when applying for other grants (think of it like credit score ratings) 
  • Enable you to be able to report to your members at your regular meetings / Annual General Meeting (if you keep records as you go along, then it is easier to collect information at the end of the year) 
  • Shout about your achievements and inspire others! 

By signing up to the terms and conditions outlined in your application, you will have committed to providing CAfS with monitoring information. 

When you receive your grant, if you haven’t already discussed this as part of the application process, it is important that you agree with other members of your group: 

  • What you will measure / count / report on during the delivery of your project (please see list of suggestions at the end of this section)? 
  • Who is going to keep records? 
  • How the records will be kept? 
  • How they will be shared (with your group and others)?   

At the end of your project, you will be required to return a monitoring form to CAfS detailing what you have achieved through the project and confirming your expenditure.  

 Please see further guidance and template for reporting to CAfS.

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