Community groups throughout the region can apply to a £5 million Lottery programme to help them make improvements to their venues and save money during the recession.
The Big Lottery Fund's Energy Efficient Venues Programme offers Lottery cash to local groups to carry out improvements to their community venues so they can make savings on their heating and lighting costs and cut down on their spending.
Organisations can apply for two grant sizes through the Programme. Grants of £2,000 - £10,000 and grants of £15,000 - £50,000 are available for groups to carry out improvements such as double glazing, upgrading insulation, or installing a more efficient heating system.
If the venue is already energy efficient, a grant could give organisations the opportunity to install solar panels, wind turbines, or biomass technologies such as wood pellet boilers.
In order to qualify for a large grant, groups must carry out an Energy Audit of their venue. An Energy Audit is a report that shows groups how making improvements to their venue could help them save energy and cut their costs. If groups want help with paying for an Energy Audit they can either include the costs in their application for a small grant, or pay for it themselves.
It is possible to apply for a small grant followed by a large grant. But community organisations should be aware that, if they plan to do this, they need to get their application for a small grant in to the Big Lottery Fund by the end of August 2011. This will give them time to have their small grant assessed and awarded and to complete their project before applying for a large grant.
Groups that have already benefited from the programme include a small rural community group that is installing new PVC windows and ceiling insulation, and a community childcare centre that is putting in new radiators and buying energy efficient light bulbs. While a care home is improving its loft insulation and installing gas–fired tumble driers, and a sports club is carrying out an Energy Audit to find out whether they can install a wind turbine.
Information and application packs for the Energy Efficient Venues Programme are currently available and can be accessed by visiting the programme pages of the Big Lottery Fund's website www.biglotteryfund.org.uk or by calling the Big Lottery Fund's Information and Events team on 9055 1455. Groups can contact Community Places for help with the application process including advice on:
- energy efficiency measures;
- planning permission and building control processes;
- tendering and contracting for small scale capital projects; and
- accessibility issues and sustainable development.
Telephone 9023 9444, contact Elaine or Celine (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).