Published on 26th August 2021

Solar panel on church roof

Energy, nature and transport projects across Cheltenham are benefitting from the Borough’s first ever community fund aimed at fighting the climate emergency.

A total of £55,000 has been awarded to community groups, churches, preschools, parishes and more as part of the Cheltenham Zero community fund.

The funding pot was made available by the Borough Council to kickstart community schemes as Cheltenham’s work on the climate emergency ramps up.

Cllr Max Wilkinson cabinet member for climate emergency said: “I’m so pleased we are able to support such an interesting and positive range of projects as part of our aims to promote carbon neutrality and boost nature.

“These projects will help to reduce emissions, generate clean energy, help biodiversity and promote sustainable transport too.

“This fund is part of our wider work as we launch the Cheltenham Zero Partnership to bring together businesses, communities and the public sector in our efforts.

“We know that we need to do much more, so there’s more to come as our work speeds up – watch this space.”

Cheltenham Borough Council has declared a climate emergency and is working to become a carbon neutral council and borough – with a target of 2030.

Laura Tapping, climate emergency programme officer, continued: ‘’We were looking for projects which had the highest level of climate impact and were encouraged to see the amount of match funding supporting these applications. Our 14 awarded projects will have a total investment of £150 k including 95k of matched funding intended to be delivered during 2021-2022. It is important for us to fund projects tackling different aspects of the climate agenda such as biodiversity, promoting active travel and improving energy efficiency of buildings. We will now be looking at how we can involve a wide range of groups, even if we aren’t funding their projects, as part of the broader movement of change.’’

Some of the great projects to be awarded the 2021 Cheltenham Zero community grant funding are listed, with more to follow in the coming weeks:

£5,000 - Prestbury Parish Council - The project aims to install multiple energy efficient measures at the Parish’s Pavilion, such as cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, hot water thermostats, LED lighting, draught-proof doors and water efficient shower heads, to reduce energy expenditure and annual carbon production by an estimated 3.81 tonnes.

£5,000 - Leckhampton Rovers Football Club (LRFC) - Installation of Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) at the Burrows Playing Fields, Moorend Road. This is part of a wider refit which aims to run the whole building on renewable energy.  The building will be insulated, new windows and doors will be fitted, it will have solar panels for heating and water and an ASHP. This impactful project will go beyond carbon reduction by supporting the club’s ambition include more youth football, commence women’s football, start walking football, and provide disability football and also work with local charities.

£3,5000 - Monkscroft Community Action Group - Launching a full range of recycling opportunities in Monkscroft from Cowper Road, along Pitman Road, ending in Wasley Road. The project aims to set-up 10 new recycling points in an area with very limited recycling with new bespoke signage and events and workshops to raise awareness on the importance of recycling and encourage behaviour change.  

£5,000 - Swindon Village Hall - Roof insulation and destratification fans to reduce heat loss from the village hall building, to reduce the energy required to heat the main hall, to improve ventilation and improve heating response times. The installation of the equipment will see an estimated 10-20% reduction in the heating consumption and associated carbon emissions.

£5,000 - Parochial Church Council (PCC) Trinity Church Cheltenham - Re-roofing of Trinity Church Cheltenham, incorporating energy saving measures such as PV units. The installation of PV panels and 300mm Rockwool insulation will provide a lower external energy demand, most of which would come from fossil fuels, and allow green energy to be transmitted into the National Grid.  The installation of the PV units has been calculated (by the supplier) to provide a carbon saving of 2,973Kg/year.

£680 - Naunton Park Pre-School Playgroup – This project will create a ‘green corridor’ between Naunton Park School and Naunton Park Rose Gardens. A concrete area will be enhanced by a series of planters, raised beds and a living wall. A wide range of (bee and wildlife friendly) plants and shrubs will be planted, along with a number of trees. The project will enhance local biodiversity, provide long-term benefits to both the children and the local community.

£1,650 - Christ Church Cheltenham – The project will see the installation of a bank of cycle racks in front of the church building to encourage more of the church members and users to use their bikes more. Before installation, during and after the project surveys will be conducted to assess motivation, as well as promoting the benefits of cycling.

£5,000 - We Create Cheltenham CIC – Developing a community planting project which in the context of the climate emergency, Field Fare aims to revive lost skills by growing and foraging for ‘useful plants’ – such as herbs and seeds for cooking and infusing, and flowers and roots that make natural dyes and inks – in the green-spaces, gardens and wild places of the local area.

£5,000 - Oakwood School, Cheltenham Borough Homes, Oakwood Area Residents - A scheme incorporating a number of habitat enhancements such as street trees, planters that support pollinators and bollards to protect grass verges, creating areas of wildflower planting to discourage school run traffic and support nature and biodiversity along Cotswold Road and Pennine Road, in the vicinity of Oakwood School.

£5,000 - Cheltenham West End Partnership – A scheme to introduce multiple building energy efficiency measures including LED lighting, motion sensors, radiator thermostats and replacing window blinds.  Behaviour change will also be encouraged through the provision of community green travel guides for the lower high street and the installation of an information point at the resource centre.

Bernice Thomson, manager at Cheltenham West End Partnership said: ‘’We are so pleased to be given this funding from Cheltenham Zero. At our resource centre in Grove Street we are gradually putting measures in place to reduce our carbon output. This funding will allow us to achieve some of the steps in our action plan including the upgrading of the lighting in the centre. Thank you Cheltenham Borough Council.’’

To find out more about Cheltenham Zero Community fund visit the webpage.

Businesses and community groups can show their commitment to tackling the climate emergency head by joining CheltenhamZero.

In 2019, Cheltenham Borough Council declared a climate emergency and a commitment to be a carbon neutral council and borough by 2030. The goal of a carbon neutral borough will be met by delivering activity which supports and promotes the town’s core vision to be a place where everyone thrives.

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Installation of equipment may be subject to planning and building regulations control and require application and consent.