Deadline approaching for renewables fund

North West charities, social-enterprises, community groups, businesses and microenterprises have just two weeks left to apply to a £4m region-specific renewable energy fund.

The Rural Carbon Challenge Fund has grants of up to £500,000 available to support community-level projects that utilise renewable energy across England's Northwest's to aid the region's rural economy and rural communities.

Expressions of Interest must be made before the closing date of 1 June, 2010 to delivery partners Envirolink Northwest.

From Cumbria, Cheshire and Lancashire to the rural fringes and market towns of Greater Manchester and Merseyside, the RCCF is keen to hear from projects looking for funding towards renewable energy initiatives that can showcase best practice and elements of innovation within rural areas.

The fund applies to:

  • Installation of renewable energy systems such as wind turbines, hydroelectricity or biomass boilers
  • Set up or expansion of a renewable energy business
  • Training and information for those who commission, design, install and service renewable energy systems – such as fitters, plumbers and heating engineers.
  • Training and information for those who develop and deliver renewable energy projects
  • Feasibility studies.

The funding, which has come from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will demonstrate what can be achieved at a community level.

Additionally the RCCF will provide capital to support the cost of energy production in the community with technical support and training that will help support the Northwest's move to a low carbon economy.

And as three quarters of the region is considered rural, the RCCF may also be available to those areas that might consider themselves to be urban, for instance, Failsworth and Leigh in Greater Manchester and Allerton and Rainhill in Merseyside. In fact there are nearly 100 wards in the metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester and Merseyside that could qualify for grants.

Lee Allman, head of research and commercialisation at Envirolink Northwest, which is delivering the project in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for rural communities in England's Northwest to make a real difference to where they live and work. There is no other scheme like it in the country, so the successful projects will be pioneers, setting a blueprint for the rest of the UK to follow."

  • For details of who can apply for funding such as business groups, individual businesses with more than 10 employees and community groups as well as clarification of rural areas within the Northwest that will be considered for RCCF contact Ben Herbert on 01925 813200 or email To download an RCCF application form visit

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