CARES funding available to help communities make a green recovery

Hannah Downey

The next funding round of the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewables Energy Scheme (CARES) is now open.

Communities, public sector organisations and rural businesses looking to make long term environmental changes and play a part in the green recovery after COVID-19 are encouraged to apply.

As Scotland starts to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, there is an opportunity to focus on a green recovery by aiding economic activity that puts tackling climate change and our ambition to reach net zero at the heart of everything we do. The support that CARES offers to rural businesses, communities and third sector organisations is an integral part of this green recovery package.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: “We will continue to support Scottish communities to develop renewable energy projects through our Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).

“I am delighted to announce that a new funding call is now open through our flagship CARES programme, with up to £4.5 million available this year. Priority will be given to community led development and capital stage projects; off-grid communities seeking capital investment to help maintain the security of their energy supply and rural businesses seeking development support to explore their renewable options. Further information is available on the Local Energy Scotland website.”

CARES funding can be used to develop projects and to install renewable energy generation, such as solar panels on a community owned building, or support local energy projects working towards Scotland’s net zero ambition. Both urban and rural communities are encouraged to apply.

CARES funding has already supported numerous exciting projects across Scotland. These include a community hydro scheme in Applecross where surplus is used for the benefit of the community, and Edinburgh’s Duddingston Primary School which directs income generated from its solar panels to an Inclusion Fund that ensures pupils from all backgrounds can take part in activities. More recently, community owned renewable projects have redirected funds to support their communities through COVID-19, showing the real benefits that locally owned renewables can have.

CARES recognises that many community organisations across Scotland are currently stretched supporting front line services and helping those at risk in their communities. There will be future CARES funding calls with similar themes, so don’t worry if the timing isn’t right for you just now.

Expressions of interest should be submitted by Wednesday 22 July. Feedback will be given, before a deadline for full applications on Wednesday 2 September.

Find out more about CARES and how to apply.