Resilient Communities Fund
It’s challenging running a community business at the best of times. But hikes in energy costs and the overall cost of living crisis is making it harder.
We’re offering a grant and further support to help you navigate the cost of living and energy crises, build your resilience and strengthen local communities in the shift to a fairer, greener future.
Now closed for applications
Resilient Communities Fund is now closed for applications.
For the Round 1 of the Fund we are providing a flexible grant of up to £10,000, over a 6 month period, that can be used for:
- Paying off excess energy bills over the winter
- Activities and development work to improve the sustainability and energy resilience of your community business (e.g. building energy audits, renewable energy feasibility studies)
- Investments in building energy performance improvements (e.g. insulation, heating controls, low energy lighting upgrades)
- Additional goods and services to support local people with the cost of living and energy crises (e.g. food banks, warm banks, fuel poverty initiatives)
- Covering core staff costs or paying for cost of living pay allowance to staff.
Community businesses will also receive access to online resources, events and bespoke one-to-one support to help you improve your sustainability and energy resilience, reduce costs and carbon emissions.
Take this simple energy survey to help you identify the most effective options for your community building and where you might need support.
Future Rounds: We are working with partners on a blended fund (grants + repayable loans) for retrofitting energy efficiency measures and renewable technologies in community buildings. More details to follow late in the year.
Are you eligible to apply?
Are you eligible to apply?
To qualify for Round 1 of this Fund you must:
- Have received an invitation to apply via direct email from Power to Change (see FAQs below How has Power to Change decided which organisations to invite to apply?)
- Be a previous Power to Change grantee and a community business (see FAQs below How do I know if my organisation is a community business?)
- Own or manage a community building and be responsible for paying the energy bills
- Be able to demonstrate that use of the grant will further a charitable purpose for the public benefit of your local community
How we'll assess your application
How we’ll assess your application
We don’t expect you to fulfil all the following criteria, but would like to see evidence of at least two of the following:
- Your community business owns or manages a community building, and is responsible for paying the energy bills, which provides charitable activities to the community;
- Your community business is being impacted by the cost of living and energy crisis;
- Your community business will use the grant and support to help the local community through the cost of living and energy crisis;
- Your community business will use the grant and support to build its resilience in the medium term, including through green solutions
Although this fund is targeted, Round 1 may be oversubscribed. If this is the case, we will need to prioritise awarding grants and support depending on which community businesses need it most.
If we need to prioritise applications, we will consider the following factors:
- If your organisation is led by and/or working with low income and marginalised communities
- The type(s) of impact the cost of living and energy crisis is having on your organisation
- An assessment of your organisation’s vulnerability to economic shocks (based on a range of variables including primary sector, estimated annual energy costs as proportion of your turnover, and financial resilience using available data from Companies House)
If you need help with your application, you can speak to us directly by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Due Diligence
Whilst it is flexible funding (we don’t need to see a detailed project plan and budget) as a charitable foundation, all our grants must further our charitable objects for the public benefit. This does not mean that your organisation must be a charity, as we will fund a variety of legal structures, but we cannot fund activities which don’t further a charitable purpose for public benefit. In the application we will ask you to state the option that best describes the charitable purpose being furthered by the grant, from the list below:
- The advancement of education, training or retraining
- The advancement of health or the saving of lives
- The advancement of citizenship or community development
- The advancement of arts, culture, heritage or science
- The advancement of environmental protection or improvement, and the promotion of sustainable development
- The relief of those in need by reason of, youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage
- The prevention or relief of poverty
- The relief on unemployment
- The promotion of urban and rural regeneration
- The promotion of social inclusion
As part of our due diligence, we will also check:
- You have an appropriate Company Structure for the programme (inc. formal charitable/social purpose),
- You are listed on the appropriate UK company registration site (Companies House, Charities or Mutual Public Register). Where you appear on more than one we will check both to ensure there is a consistency of information between the two,
- You have at least 2 unrelated directors,
- You have submitted all appropriate financial/information records on time,
- None of your directors are currently subject to disqualification or insolvency actions,
- You have appropriate policies in place (e.g. Conflicts of Interest, GDPR, Safeguarding (where applicable).
- Based on the current financial information recorded on Companies House, Charities or Mutual Public Register we will undertake an assessment to include a review of your income/expenditure and balance sheet to understand your financial viability for the duration of the grant conditions.
Power to Change grants qualify within the definition of Subsidy, and we must abide by the UK Subsidy Control Rules. We have determined that grant awards under this fund are likely to be exempted from the Subsidy Control Rules where the subsidies received by a grantee in the last three financial years (including the grant under this fund) do not exceed the relevant permitted small amount of subsidies that you can receive over the same period, as set out in the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (currently £315,000).
Our application process will help us to identify the Subsidy position of your application. In your application you will be required to provide details of any subsidy (or previously, EU State Aid) support received previously. In the event that all or any part of the grant is deemed by a court or other agency of competent jurisdiction not to comply with the Subsidy Control Rules, we may recover all or that part of the grant from you. If you are concerned about Subsidy Control Rules, you must seek independent legal advice.
Resilient Communities Fund is closed for applications.
We will contact you with our decision by 16 December 2022.
Capacity support will begin in December 2022 and will run until June 2023.
Preview the application questions
You can prepare your application answers in advance, with this preview of the application questions.
How does the fund work?
Round 1 of the Fund will award flexible grants of up to £10,000 to around 135 community businesses with a focus on helping them to navigate the the cost of living and energy crisis and improving the energy resilience of community buildings.
Alongside the grant, community businesses willl have access to online resources, events and bespoke one-to-one support to help them improve energy resilience, reduce costs and carbon emissions.
What can funding be spent on?
This is flexible funding which means you can use the funds to cover any eligible costs that meet the programme conditions but in a way that suits your needs.
We do not require a detailed plan of how the money will be spent in advance. However, all grantees will be required to keep accurate records of expenditure of the grant, such as original receipts and bank statements and activity records relating to their funded project, and provide Power to Change with copies of those records and evidence upon request. This could include, for example:
- Energy bills for your community building,
- Activities and development work (e.g. building energy audits, renewable energy feasibility studies, business case development, community engagement),
- Investments in building energy improvements (e.g. insulation, heating controls, low energy lighting upgrades),
- Staff costs, including volunteers or contractors,
Additional goods and services to support local people with the cost of living and energy crises (e.g. food banks, warm banks, fuel poverty initiatives).
How has Power to Change decided which organisations to invite to apply?
We have used the data from 1,707 community businesses that have been funded by Power to Change, to understand who would most benefit from support from the Resilient Communities Fund.
We have selected a group of grantees to invite via email, and factors for inclusion in that group include:
- Whether the community business owns or leases a building,
- Whether the community business is led by and/or working with low income and marginalised communities,
- Whether the community business is vulnerable to economic shocks (this includes looking at what sector your business operates in, estimated annual energy costs and your businesses’ financial resilience),
- Whether your community business has been previously funded through one of our funding programmes (such as the Covid-19 emergency funding).
We have also analysed data from Companies House to see whether organisations are potentially at risk from increases in inflation and energy prices, which enabled us to finalise a longlist of organisations to invite to apply for this funding and support.
How do I know if my organisation is a community business?
How can I identify my energy options? Complete the energy survey
If your community building is large with multiple floors and rooms, check to see if it has a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) which will have recommendations for improving the building’s energy performance.
A capacity support partner will be available to assist grantees with energy advice after receipt of the grant from December 2022. This advice could include help to identify and implement effective measures to reduce your energy bills. For example, heating, lighting, and insulation improvements for your building, as well as building renewable energy technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV). As well as reducing costs, these measures can increase comfort levels and minimise the environmental impact of your community building.
Who can I contact with specific questions?
You can contact the team at Power to Change via: email@example.com
Who are the programme partners?
Power to Change is working with Social Investment Business to manage Round 1 of the Fund. We are also in the process of finding a capacity support partner to work with us in providing energy resilience services to community businesses.