Published on 20th October 2023

Women with plants, business owner, plant shop, plant business, small business, plants, plant

Cheltenham small and medium-sized enterprises can now kickstart their net zero journey with supercharged support and grants up to £10k.

Applications open Wednesday 25 October 2023

Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC), in partnership with Vision 21, are launching the CheltenhamZero Business Fund - offering grants of up to £10,000 to local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for energy efficiency projects. Available for a limited time, the £100k grant pot will be open to applications from 25 October. 

Cheltenham received the full funding of £100k from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The applications are open to businesses with a registered premise in Cheltenham, fewer than 500 employees and a turnover below £43million. Grants will be awarded for capital projects delivering energy efficiency improvements and full details can be found on the council website

Energy efficiency measures may also help local businesses to reduce their energy bills. Matched funding will be considered favourably but this can include in-kind contribution like staff time.

Cllr Alisha Lewis, cabinet member for climate change at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “In the next stretch of our crucial decarbonisation efforts, we are delighted to offer a share of the £100k funding pot to local Cheltenham based businesses.

“The CheltenhamZero Business Fund demonstrates the council’s commitment to reducing barriers for businesses. Offering local expertise, support and funding to empower businesses to take action to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency.”

This funding availability follows on from the success of the CheltenhamZero Community Fund, where £100k of grant funding was made available to local community organisations in 2020 and 2021. This facilitated projects like the installation of a heat pump at Leckhampton Rovers FC.

Mark Beaney, Leckhampton Rovers FC trustee, commented: “Being able to access grant funding for our project made a huge difference for us and enabled us to take action to reduce our emissions as well as saving money on our energy bills.” 

To apply to the Cheltenham Zero Business Fund SMEs just need to follow four simple steps. Join CheltenhamZero for free and activate your free Zellar account (worth £299). Help is then available to measure your business emissions in simple steps and create a sustainability plan.

Becki Sillence, CheltenhamZero communications manager, Vision21, continued: “It’s free to join CheltenhamZero and we currently have around 140 member organisation from a wide range of sectors who have all committed to reducing their emissions. We are excited to be teaming up with some fantastic local experts to make sure there is support available for local business every step of the way.”  

A free launch webinar will also be available on Wednesday 25 October from 10am to 11.30am for SMEs, which will give more information about the fund and expert advice from Severn Wye about planning your project.

Local climate charity Vision21 have teamed up with local experts to offer a comprehensive package of pre-application support including a sustainability planning workshop on Thursday 16 November 9.30am to 12.30 noon and advice from local sustainability consultants on 10 November 9.30am to 12.30pm. For grant recipients there is plenty of follow on support too including PR and marketing advice, technical advice and mentoring support.

Local experts on hand to help include: Vision21, Ridge & Partners LLP, Tivoli Consulting, Severn Wye Energy Agency, Glow Innovation, Green Spark Marketing, Original Education, Zellar,, The Liminality and Hillarie Owen.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 28 January 2024.

For media enquiries to Cheltenham Borough Council, contact: email [email protected] telephone 01242 264231.

For enquiries to CheltenhamZero, contact: Becki Sillence [email protected] 07375 560776 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday).

Media assets: Download digital assets from Canva.

To find out more visit: or follow CheltenhamZero on social: FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn.


This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and a total grant pot of £100,000 will be made available. £15k has been allocated towards additional support which has been arranged by Vision 21 in collaboration with local sustainability professionals.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

About Cheltenham Borough Council
Working with residents, communities and businesses to help make Cheltenham net zero by 2030 is one of five key priorities for the council. Our Climate Emergency Action Plan: Pathway to Net Zero sets out our aim to achieve the 2030 target by working with residents, communities, businesses and public and voluntary organisations.

About CheltenhamZero
CheltenhamZero is a partnership between Cheltenham Borough Council and local climate charity Vision 21. They currently support around 140 local organisations, from a wide range of sectors, with their net zero journey. It’s free to join and membership is open to businesses, public services, charities, schools and community organisations operating within Cheltenham.

About Vision21 Vision 21 is a small, yet highly active sustainability charity that’s been established for 29 years. Their mission is to make Gloucestershire communities more sustainable and resilient.

About Zellar
Zellar is an online sustainability platform that helps businesses to measure, plan, activate, report and share their sustainability journey. 

Our collaborators
Ridge & Partners LLP, Severn Wye Energy Agency, Glow Innovation, Tivoli Consulting, The Liminality, Andrew, Green Spark Marketing, Original Education Hillarie Owen.