Your questions about the Green Shoots Fund

Purpose of the fund

What can the fund pay for?

The funding can pay for projects which aim to:

  • Increase the adaptability and resilience for Warwickshire to the effects of climate change.
  • Reduce impacts on the environment, particularly regarding climate change.
  • Ensure funded projects benefit the wider Warwickshire community.

Example project areas:

  • Energy: reduce consumption, use of renewable forms of energy
  • Waste minimisation: reducing waste, re-using resources, recycling resources (e.g. composting bins)
  • Biodiversity: such as the creation of pocket parks, tree planting, adaptation and living with the future impacts of climate change
  • Sustainable transport: encouraging cycling.

Can I submit more than one application?

Yes, subject to the financial constraints detailed below.

What is the minimum and maximum financial limit for Green Shoots Fund grant applications? Can an eligible organisation submit Green Shoots Fund applications for multiple projects?

The maximum Green Shoots Fund grant awarded to any one organisation is £25,000 across individual and multiple project submissions. There is no minimum funding level. Special rules are in place where applications are made jointly.

Is the £25,000 application limit per application window or for all future applications?

Per application window. If you received funding from Phase One of Green Shoots, then you are now eligible for funding a new project to the limit of £25,000.

If we received funding from Green Shoots Phase One, but it wasn’t sufficient to cover our whole project, or we’ve since identified further developments, can we apply for additional funding for the same project?

If you have viable plans to build on an existing project, then we’d be happy to consider that. If your initial application didn’t receive all the funding you asked for and you’d like to apply for the additional money again, then your application will need to make clear the benefit that the extra funding would bring and what it will achieve compared to the first application.

In both cases, we’d be happy to have an informal conversation with you before you submit your application.

If applying for the full £25,000 as a ‘Lead Applicant’ on a joint application, does this mean no further applications can be made by this applicant, as the maximum grant allowance has been reached?

For joint applications, the amount of the bid requested will be apportioned equally between all the applicants named on the application. Being a lead applicant would not prevent further applications being made, providing, across all applications submitted (either individually or jointly) the total amount does not exceed £25,000. For example, a joint application for £25,000 between 10 organisations would be apportioned at £2,500 per named organisation, leaving £22,500 available for all named applicants, including the lead applicant, for any further applications to be made.

Can the Green Shoots Fund be used to cover VAT?

The Green Shoots Fund will only allow for ‘Irrecoverable VAT’ to be included in applications, providing the applicant has made it clear why they have deemed this to be irrecoverable from HMRC. Where VAT can be reclaimed by the applicant, this should not be included on any application.

If a group of us is in a partnership and one is applying, can that applicant hire another partner to do the work as an eligible cost?

This is a community fund, and we expect community members to do a lot of the work involved in a project. However, in some cases, we would accept that additional expertise or infrastructure is needed to carry out a project. Businesses are not eligible to apply to the fund, but they could be a partner if necessary to undertake the project.

Can the fund be used for feasibility of several small projects where detailed costs are not yet known, but would be determined as part of the feasibility work that’s undertaken?

No, we are not looking to fund feasibility studies. This is because there is a risk that the project(s) won’t go ahead, and we want to fund projects that deliver tangible outcomes. We do appreciate that feasibility studies do need to be done in some cases, but we'd ask that these are done in advance of the application.

Could you clarify the rules on total funding across a parish? If several bids go in from one village that are not connected, are they all aggregated to assess total cost is under £25,000?

We wouldn’t aggregate the separate applications together. However, if a parish council is overseeing a number of applications from small un-constituted groups, the £25,000 application limit would apply to the parish. If the applying groups are constituted, then this doesn’t apply.

A group works with the local authority on a site that is owned by the local authority. Is the group able to apply for funding separately and match with any funds that the local authority may have?

We encourage applications where the applicant is looking to match fund, whether it’s with their local council or another source.

A parish council planning to replace all street lights that aren’t LED in the parish have secured an 80% loan for most of the cost. Can they apply to this fund for some or all of the remaining 20%? They won’t have completed their ITT by the closing date, so will an estimated cost plus or minus 5% be acceptable?

Yes, that’s fine, but the limit of £25,000 still stands.

Can a group apply for a smaller grant first and then, if need be, apply for a larger amount for the same project later (but to cover different expenses)?

Technically that could be allowed, but we won’t consider it if the first grant is for any sort of feasibility study.

If a project is accepted/approved and the implementation is not until later in the year (for example, until tree planting season starts), will the funds be held over till then?

Yes, funds will be held until the work commences within reason. Applicants should be clear in their application that an award cannot be spent until a particular time and that will be taken into account by the funder.

Application process

How do we apply for Green Shoots Fund grant funding?

Full details on how to apply will be on this website once the application window opens on 17 June. An updated guidance document will also be available then.

What is the deadline for Green Shoots Fund funding applications?

The second round of funding will be open for applications between Friday 17 June until Monday 19 September 2022.

If applying with another organisation(s), do we both/all need to complete and sign the one application?

In the case of joint applications, only the lead organisation needs to complete and sign an application.

Is there support available with an application?

Yes, we’re happy to answer any specific questions and queries or arrange for an informal discussion about a possible project. Please email us at greenshoots@warwickshire.gov.uk

How will we know if an application is successful?

You will receive an automatic acknowledgement of your application (please do check your spam or junk folders!). This is your copy of the application form so please remember to save it. We will endeavour to inform all applicants of the outcome of their application within approximately six weeks of the application deadline of 19 September 2022.

Can an unsuccessful application be resubmitted?

Yes, an unsuccessful application can be resubmitted but there is no guarantee it will be funded in either this round or any future rounds.

If we are unsuccessful, will we get any feedback to improve future applications?

Yes, we’d be happy to give feedback on applications.

Can you upload links to other documents on the electronic application form?

No, sorry. Please send any additional documents or links to us via greenshoots@warwickshire.gov.uk

Eligibility

How do we know if our organisation is eligible for Green Shoots Fund grant funding?

To be eligible for the Green Shoots fund, your organisation will need to meet certain criteria. Please refer to the guidance document or read Who Can Apply to the Fund?

How do we know if our project is eligible for Green Shoots funding?

Please see the description of projects we’d like to fund, and you may also find it useful to read about the projects that received funding in Phase One.

Full details on the eligibility criteria can also be found within the guidance document that will be shortly available here.

Can an application use a third party to manage the delivery of a project?

Yes, we will fund external project management costs where appropriate.

Can we also apply for funding elsewhere?

Yes, we’re happy to support any project that has match funding. Please declare the other funding or additional grants on your application form.

Would a GP surgery be eligible to apply?

A GP surgery by itself is unlikely to be classified as a community group, but if it was working with a separate community group that met the eligibility criteria as a lead for the project, it would be considered.

Is a social enterprise eligible to apply where any profits would be routed to community benefit?

Yes. We would be particularly interested to understand the benefit to the community.

Is the £25,000 application limit per application window/application date or for all future applications?

The £25,000 limit is per application window. If you were previously given funding under Phase One, then you are now eligible for funding for a new project to the limit of £25,000.

You’ve said you want the Green Shoots funding to benefit the whole county and that you are especially interested in applications from Nuneaton & Bedworth and North Warwickshire boroughs. What does that mean for Rugby borough, Warwick and Stratford districts?

Almost two-thirds of the 69 projects we funded in Phase One were from Stratford and Warwick districts. Rugby borough also received a good share of funding. However, very few applications were received from the Nuneaton & Bedworth and North Warwickshire boroughs, and we are therefore very keen that this imbalance is rectified during Phase Two, so that each area receives a similar level of funding per capita from the whole £1m fund.

In practice, this means that we are strongly encouraging community groups from Nuneaton & Bedworth and North Warwickshire to come forward with their applications, or contact us for an informal conversation about their ideas for a project.

It also means that, whilst funding is still available for the strongest projects from the Warwick, Stratford and Rugby areas, we are particularly interested to hear from those which will have a benefit across a wider geographical area. This might mean an existing project partnering with a community group in Nuneaton, or a new applicant creating a project that will particularly benefit residents in those two under-represented areas.

What type of school projects are eligible?

We welcome applications from any community group associated with a state-funded school. The school itself would not be eligible, but a parent-teacher association would be. The important thing to note for any school-related project is that we’d look more favourably on those that have benefits which extend beyond the school gate and into the wider community.

Are sports teams eligible?

Yes. Sports team facilities like pavilions and sports community centres are ideal because they are open to a wide range of people. In Phase One for example, we funded the installation of LED floodlights for a football club.

Are litter-picking schemes eligible?

They’d be unlikely to be successful unless they were part of a wider project that also addresses the climate change element of environmental improvement. We can work with you to discuss how this might work, such as planting wildflowers, trees or hedges as part of the same project.

Preparing your application

Do we need to know how much the project is expected to cost?

Yes. A projection for the cost of any project along with an overview of actions, outputs, outcomes and success measures will be required to support and validate any Green Shoots funding. A breakdown of any additional funding or in-kind contributions is also required.

Do we need to provide evidence of costs at application stage?

Applicants should submit a breakdown of costs, and where required, evidence of cost. At least one quotation should be provided for each element of goods, labour and services over £10,000. Where possible, evidence of costs or quotations for lesser amounts will be useful and will strengthen your application.

For more information regarding evidencing, please refer to the guidance document which will shortly be available. 

Do we need to provide a timetable?

Yes please. All applicants are required to declare when the project will start and finish. Those with a project worth less than £5,000 are required to provide an overview of key stages, whereas applications for more than £5,000 are required to submit a detailed project plan.

After the funding is awarded

Are grant recipients required to monitor the progress of their project objectives?

Yes. The amount of monitoring required will vary depending on the length, type, and cost of your project. For more information about reporting, monitoring and evaluation, please refer to the guidance document which will shortly be available here.

If I’m successful in receiving a grant, how and when will this grant be paid?

Once you have been told your application was successful, you will need to complete a grant acceptance form that includes a section for submitting the details of the bank account into which the funding will be paid. Grants may be given in stages, either at point of award or at project milestones. You will be informed of staged payment details upon award. The application form gives you the opportunity to indicate if an upfront amount is required to start the project.

Is there a deadline by which Green Shoots Fund funding must be spent?

We will notify you of the deadlines for spending funds. The deadlines will vary, and we will take into consideration the type of project and length of project when making this decision.

What if any Green Shoots Fund grant awarded does not cover the anticipated project costs? Can we apply for more?

In the event of an overspend, the amount will normally need to be met from your own funds. In exceptional circumstances we, at our own discretion, may agree to increase the grant by an amount equal to the overspend.

How can my organisation get help with promoting the project once it is completed?

We’d be delighted to promote your project and will create a case study on your project for sharing through our website, in the local media and on our social media channels. By accepting the Green Shoots funding, you are agreeing to allow us to promote your project or activity to showcase our continued progress in reducing carbon emissions.

You are also encouraged to promote your project and acknowledge the support of WCC’s Green Shoots funding in any publicity. You will be required to follow our branding guidelines and to display our logo on any promotional materials and communications relating to the project. We also ask that any media releases or use of our logo are submitted to us for approval before use (via email to greenshoots@warwickshire.gov.uk).

We also ask that you include the projet (or activities or groups arising from the project) in SearchOut Warwickshire and keep the listing up to date in accordance with the SearchOut Warwickshire management arrangements. The administrator for SearchOut Warwickshire can be contacted at searchout@warwickshire.gov.uk

Assessment of applications

How will we assess the applications?

We are looking for projects that:

  • Will result in cost-effective environmental benefits
  • Will bring community benefits, be accessible and free to access
  • Are realistic and deliverable
  • Have a legacy value, ideally with the potential to be replicated elsewhere
  • Have a plan and resource to assess the post-project benefits.

More information on criteria will be published shortly in our guidance document.

What involvement do you expect from the county councillor in the project as per "how have you involved your county councillor”?

We encourage you to discuss your application with your county, district and/or borough councillor and to ask them to be an advocate for your project and to invest in it if possible. Having their support will add weight to your application.

Do you have any advice on what makes a strong application?

Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve and what the benefit is to your community in a climate change context. We are looking for things that can be done quickly that will add to the quality of life of our communities and protect or enhance our environment. Although it’s not necessarily about scale, we do hope to see lots of people benefiting from our projects, so including evidence of community support in your application is encouraged.

Further support

What if I have a question that is not answered here?

If you still have a question or would like to discuss anything further, please email greenshoots@warwickshire.gov.uk

We know what we want to do but we’re having difficulty identifying contractors who can do the work - and give us a quotation. Are you able to identify contractors?

Unfortunately not. We sympathise with you, because the marketplace for contractors at the moment is very difficult, but we are very limited in terms of the amount of assistance we can give with this. We’d encourage you to explore all options, especially involving local suppliers where possible, and we hope that the long lead time before the application deadline will give you plenty of time to find potential suppliers.