The New Climate Challenge Fund Ideas Bank initiative is opening the way for North-east community groups to access funding and project ideas in partnership with a range of public, private and third sector organisations.
The Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) is a Scottish Government programme, managed by the independent environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, which provides funding for community groups that are tackling climate change through local community-led projects.
Following on from the recent CCF advice surgery held in Fraserburgh in September, Aberdeenshire community groups remain eligible to apply for CCF funding independently but the launch of the Ideas Bank will also enable them to develop and implement applications in partnership with other organisations.
This will provide community groups with inspiration and templates through which they can develop their project plans.
Keep Scotland Beautiful is now inviting a wide variety of proposing organisations such as local authorities, national charities and businesses as well as community groups already taking action on climate change, to submit project ideas.
These ideas will be assessed for eligibility by the CCF team and then made available in template form on www.climatechallengefund.org, for community groups to prepare an application to the CCF in partnership with one of the proposing organisations.
Each Ideas Bank project template must demonstrate that it will lead to a measurable reduction in carbon emissions and help create a low carbon future.
This could include projects such as energy efficiency improvements in community owned halls, provision of energy efficiency advice, lower carbon transport schemes, creation of community growing space and work to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.
More than 600 projects from all over Scotland have already received CCF funding with more than £52 million awarded in grants. An additional £10.3 million of CCF funding has been made available by the Scottish Government which has extended the fund until March 2016. Proposing organisations are urged to submit project templates soon, to give community groups enough time to develop applications and complete their projects by this date.
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Environment and Climate Change said: “The Climate Challenge Fund has inspired communities from all across Scotland to come together to tackle climate change by reducing emissions through a range of innovative projects. The Ideas Bank is a great way to help the CCF evolve to support even more communities, particularly those that may not think they have the right skills or capacity to come forward with an idea. Working in partnership with supporting organisations, and using ideas from the bank, community groups will be able to develop projects that suit their local circumstances. This will help them cut their carbon footprint, as well as making a real and lasting difference to their local area.”
Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability said: “We welcome the launch of the Ideas Bank. Local authorities are committed to reducing carbon emissions and working with communities. The Ideas Bank provides the means through which we can highlight potential carbon reduction projects for our communities and, work in partnership, to gain the necessary funding to deliver on the challenge of reducing carbon emissions, meeting challenging climate change targets and creating sustainable places for future generations. I am sure member councils will welcome this opportunity to engage with the Ideas Bank of the Climate Challenge Fund.”
David Gunn, Climate Challenge Fund Manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We are excited about the Ideas Bank launch and urge organisations across Scotland to submit Ideas Bank project templates so that community groups will be able to work in partnership with them to reduce carbon emissions and improve their communities.
“Climate Challenge Fund grants have been important in supporting community groups across Scotland to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their local areas. We hope that the Ideas Bank will encourage organisations to help even more community groups make local communities more sustainable places to live and work.”