Community groups are already delivering fantastic work across the county and have great ideas and an appetite to do more. To overcome barriers to action, the council identified a need to provide funding to Warwickshire communities that would enable them in delivering their own local solutions whilst also facilitating the development of partnerships and networks.
In February 2021 the £1 million Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund was launched to help local community groups act on climate change. There was no minimum application level, but the maximum available was set at £25,000.
The key targets for the Green Shoots project were designed to: increase the adaptability and resilience of Warwickshire to the effects of climate change; reduce impacts on the environment, particularly regarding climate change; ensure funded projects benefit the wider Warwickshire community.
In July 2021, 69 projects were funded to the total value of £625,000.
Given the wide variety of applications received, there are a whole spectrum of benefits. These include: energy generation from solar PV; energy savings from efficiency measures; and electric vehicle charging points.
The design of the scheme was informed by a public engagement exercise at the end of 2020, with the aim of understanding potential levels of interest, types of projects, and the level of funding that might be needed, as well as views on how the application process could be best managed.
The 178 responses and comments received demonstrated there was significant interest in such a scheme and indicated a demand for funding grass roots biodiversity projects as well as energy efficiency, renewables and active travel.
The initial engagement exercise helped develop an application process that was fit for purpose. Based on this feedback, we developed an application document whereby we required a greater level of detail for those seeking funding over £5,000, with less information for lower value applications, therefore reducing barriers to application.
To improve efficiency of processing, we did need to change the application format from an online PDF form to a Microsoft based form. This reduced the time to review applications significantly reduced time in the preparation of grant offer letters. However, this change was made a few weeks after the opening date, with some applications already received. Whilst the change of format is of benefit to Warwickshire County Council, it did impact those who had already completed a PDF form but later needed to resubmit it on the Microsoft form.
- Net gain in biodiversity.
- Trees planted.
- Number of children and adults engaged in awareness and behaviour change projects.
- KWh of energy produced from renewable energy projects.
- kWh and carbon saved from energy efficiency and conservation measures.
- Number of use of electric vehicle charging points.
- Waste reduction.