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Gloucestershire Business News

£10k offer to curb business energy costs

A new grant fund goes live on Wednesday which offers small and medium-sized enterprises the chance to kickstart their net zero journey with support and grants up to £10,000.

Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC) is working in partnership with Vision 21 to launch the CheltenhamZero Business Fund, which issues grants of up to £10,000 to local SMEs for energy-efficiency projects.

The project's £100k grant pot comes from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and applications are open to businesses with a registered premise in Cheltenham, fewer than 500 employees and a turnover below £43million.

Grants will be awarded for capital projects delivering energy efficiency improvements and full details can be found on the council website.

Cllr Alisha Lewis, CBC cabinet member for climate change said: "In the next stretch of our crucial decarbonisation efforts, we are delighted to offer a share of the £100k funding pot to local Cheltenham based businesses. The CheltenhamZero Business Fund demonstrates the council's commitment to reducing barriers for businesses. Offering local expertise, support and funding to empower businesses to take action to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency."

This funding availability follows on from the success of the CheltenhamZero Community Fund, where £100k of grant funding was made available to local community organisations in 2020 and 2021. The grants funded projects such as the installation of a heat pump at Leckhampton Rovers FC.

Mark Beaney, Leckhampton Rovers FC trustee, added: "Being able to access grant funding for our project made a huge difference for us and enabled us to take action to reduce our emissions as well as saving money on our energy bills."

To apply to the Cheltenham Zero Business Fund SMEs just need to follow four simple steps. Join CheltenhamZero for free and activate your free Zellar account (worth £299). Help is then available to measure your business emissions in simple steps and create a sustainability plan.

Becki Sillence, communications manager for Vision21, explained: "It's free to join CheltenhamZero and we currently have around 140 member organisation from a wide range of sectors who have all committed to reducing their emissions. We are excited to be teaming up with some fantastic local experts to make sure there is support available for local business every step of the way."

●A free launch webinar will also be available on Wednesday 25 October (10am to 11.30am) for SMEs, which will give more information about the fund and expert advice from Severn Wye about planning your project.

Local climate charity Vision21 have teamed up with local experts to offer a comprehensive package of pre-application support including a sustainability planning workshop on Thursday, 16 November (9.30am to 12.30 noon) and advice from local sustainability consultants on 10 November (9.30am to 12.30pm). 

For grant recipients there is plenty of follow on support, too, including PR and marketing advice, technical advice and mentoring support. Local experts on hand to help will include: Vision21, Ridge & Partners LLP, Tivoli Consulting, Severn Wye Energy Agency, Glow Innovation, Green Spark Marketing, Original Education, Zellar,, The Liminality and Hillarie Owen.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 28 January 2024.

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