Richmond Council to support local climate action projects with grants of up to £500

Richmond Borough Council has opened applications for microgrants, ranging from £100 to £500, to help both new and existing climate action projects in the borough.

The Climate Action Microgrant Programme is open to any individual or non-profit organisation based in Kingston’s neighbouring borough, Richmond upon Thames, and successful applicants will receive two to three microgrants monthly.

A spokesperson for Richmond Borough Council said: “Working together with members of our community to find shared, localised solutions to the climate crisis, and continuing to build on this collaboration, is a top priority for us and critical to us being able to achieve our goal of becoming a Net Zero Borough by 2043.”

Funding for climate action projects was first introduced last year when the council awarded 35 grants over the course of the Great Big Green Week in June 2023.

The council has highlighted notable examples which have benefited from council funds including community planting schemes at Wellington Gardens and the Microscope Project which analyses water quality in the area.

The spokesperson also reiterated the council’s sentiments published on their website: “Through the new rolling microgrants scheme, we want to support projects that will help even more residents learn about climate action and switch to sustainable behaviours in the long term, as well as those projects that will support local people and nature to adapt to a changing climate.”

They are especially interested in supporting projects and ideas that demonstrate a wider community benefit “from involving your neighbours to supporting more disadvantaged or vulnerable members of the community”.

The first deadline for the year-long scheme is Friday 26 April, with applicants being informed of the outcome on the week commencing 6 May. The nearby boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, and Wandsworth have similar schemes running as well.

Climate action microgrants are part of the borough’s larger Climate Emergency Action Plan, which guides the planning and priorities of the council as Richmond upon Thames aims to become carbon neutral by 2030, as well as Net Zero by 2043.

After a meeting of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee in February of this year, Cllr Julia Neden Watts said: “As we accelerate toward our ambitious goals […] extensive work was carried out in 2023 to build on progress that has been made against our Climate Emergency Strategy since 2019.

“This has included bolstering how we collaborate with our communities and provide space for necessary partnership working; ensuring that our neighbourhoods and residents who are at the greatest risk of negative climate impacts are delivered tailored support.”

On top of the grants, the council aims to focus on the decarbonisation of properties in the borough. According to the Sustainable Investment Group decarbonising (removing or limiting carbon emissions) an existing building can include using renewable energy, sufficient insulation, and effective ventilation.

The actions Richmond have taken so far, have seen the borough awarded an ‘A’ by the Carbon Disclosure Project in 2023 based on recent environmental data, an achievement only obtained by 13% of cities participating globally.

As well hosting London’s largest green space (Richmond Park), the borough is one of only five councils in the capital to be awarded an ‘A’ by the Carbon Disclosure Project. Credit Simon Wilkes/ Unsplash

However, despite the borough’s global acclaim, Cllr Neden-Watts still puts great emphasis on the local community: “A key priority for us in 2024 will be working closely with our communities to refresh our Climate Emergency Strategy, to cover years 2025-2030.

“This will focus on how we plan to continue supporting our communities to prepare for and adapt to a changing climate, as well as reducing emissions in key areas like home energy efficiency and transport. It is of utmost importance that the views, concerns and priorities of our residents and partners remain at the heart of what we deliver.”

For more information on how to apply for the microgrants visit the Richmond Council website.

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