A second round of funding has been launched to allow community groups in Bristol to secure grants for new clean energy projects with the support of the city’s new Mayor.
Bristol Community Energy Fund (BCEF) is offering up to £10,000 to individual projects intended to make a positive change in how local energy is generated and used. Through the fund, Bristol City Council is aiming to see the development of local solutions to community-specific energy challenges.
While not specifically aimed at community energy projects, one of the objectives of the initiative is to fund projects which support community groups and locals move towards renewable sources of energy.
Marvin Rees, the Labour Mayor elected in May, has expressed his support for the BCEF as the city moves towards its ambition of carbon neutrality.
He said: “I’m fully behind making Bristol carbon neutral by 2050 and addressing inequalities in the city. For this, we need get the whole city involved. The groups least engaged with energy issues have tended to be those most prone to fuel poverty, least likely to access information that might encourage them to undertake energy efficiency measures or to benefit from generating their own energy.
“By supporting projects that help address the specific needs of communities, we can begin to bridge that gap, helping residents to gain from a more sustainable relationship with energy and the local environment.”
The first round of projects saw three solar projects awarded funding within a range of initiatives, including local charity, Bristol Playbus, which will use its grant to add solar panels to the Sensory Truck, a mobile sensory environment for children with a disability or life-limiting illness.
Katie Hanchard-Goodwin, project coordinator at Bristol Playbus, said: “Our goal is to ensure that geographical isolation and/or lack of specialist transportation is never an obstacle to a disabled child or young person’s ability to access the cutting edge specialist learning equipment they need to thrive.
“The amazing support from the Bristol Community Energy Fund ensures that we continue to reach more and more of these kids all the time.”
Following feedback from groups that submitted proposals during the first funding round, the application window will be open for just over seven weeks.
There are two types of grant available to Bristol groups, with small grants worth up to £2,000 and larger grants offering up to £10,000 to projects. Applications for both grants must be submitted by 8 August 2016 at 11am.
The grants are being funded by £885,000 provided to Bristol City Council by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. In addition to the community energy fund, the council plans to use this money to support a loans scheme for larger community energy projects; fund a national conference to engage and support other local authorities to establish community energy movements; and support the development of an approach to increase the size of the pot and create a sustainable funding stream.