Community organisations in Yorkshire, Cumbria and the North East of England can now apply for grants of up to £10,000 to support COVID-19 recovery schemes and other essential projects.
The Community Partnering Fund, run by gas distributor Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and electricity distributor Northern Powergrid, has announced its next phase of funding.
A pot of £50,000 is available, with grants ranging from £1,000 to £10,000. Eligible projects need to be not-for-profit, and to focus on one or more of the following: COVID-19 recovery, tackling fuel poverty, promoting energy efficiency or gas safety in the home or promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) related subjects.
Over the past three years, the Community Partnering Fund has awarded more than £180,000 to a diverse range of projects and organisations, from community radio stations to foodbanks, refugee support schemes to renewable energy projects.
Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy for Northern Gas Networks said: “The Community Partnering Fund was set up to help strengthen local communities – and this has never been more important.
“Traditionally, we have funded projects which tackle fuel poverty, or promote energy efficiency, gas safety or STEM subjects.
“While we are still very keen to receive applications in these areas, this year we are also welcoming projects designed to help communities through the current COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic continues to adversely affect many aspects of people’s lives, and we look forward to receiving applications designed to alleviate that impact and build community resilience.”
Michelle Cummings, Northern Powergrid’s Social Responsibly Manager, said: “Being a force for good in the communities we serve is a priority for us now and in the future. This goes beyond our electricity network which is powering people’s lives during the pandemic; it’s also about having a wider positive impact on the region through strong partnerships.
“The Community Partnering Fund helps us support a diverse range of organisations and projects at a time when its needed most. We look forward to seeing a range of applications that will make a real difference to individuals and communities in the months ahead.”
Schemes to have benefited from previous rounds of funding include an education project in Yorkshire to support BAME young women at risk of underachieving; a South Asian community radio station in Leeds; an education specialist working with refugees and asylum seekers in Hull; a Sheffield food bank; a social enterprise scheme in Tyne and Wear which promotes community involvement in renewable energy solutions and a community centre in Carlisle that trained ‘champions’ to promote energy efficiency across the city.
Kate Hainsworth, Chief Executive at Leeds Community Foundation, which administers the Community Partnering Fund on behalf of the two utility companies said: “We are delighted to be working with Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid to distribute this much needed funding – especially at a time when so many communities and households are dealing with the impact of COVID-19.
“The fund has made a profound difference to quality of life over the past three years, and it is needed now more than ever.”
Organisations wishing to apply for funding can find out more, and submit their bids at www.leedscf.org.uk/grants
Case study: The Energy Doctor will see you now
Yorkshire Energy Doctor is a community organisation that works across the North of England, helping vulnerable people to be able to heat their homes at an affordable cost.
The organistion provides fuel poverty and energy awareness training, as well as community outreach events and one-to-one home energy visits.
Yorkshire Energy Doctor has benefitted from two separate grants through the Community Partnership Fund, enabling it to deliver energy awareness training to other front-line staff in local communities, as well as deliver a project to help young people aged 18-25 get set up on the right energy tariff when setting up their first home.
Just as importantly, these projects proved a springboard for the organisation to develop a longer-term relationship with Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid.
Kate Urwin, Director of Yorkshire Energy Doctor said: “Applying to the Community Partnership Fund has been tremendously beneficial. The funding has allowed us to deliver some important work around fuel poverty and energy efficiency, and has allowed us to grow as an organisation.
“As well as benefitting from the funding, it’s been a great opportunity to get to know large companies such as Northern Gas Networks and Northern Ppwergrid. This has led to bigger and better things. For example, we are now one of Northern Gas Networks’ recognised strategic partners, working on a training programme across the North of England.
“I would definitely encourage other organisations to apply for funding. You never know where it may lead!”