The sustainability charity Groundwork is leading an initiative called Foundation, a climate fund that aims to provide £1 million per year for local, community-based carbon-reducing projects in the UK’s Northwest.
The fund is designed to help individuals and businesses support climate-focused community projects while also promoting social justice and tackling problems like fuel poverty. Money will be spent to install insulation, solar panels and wind turbines, as well as to develop biological carbon sinks such as peat bogs.
Managed by Groundwork Northwest and chaired by United Utilities, Foundation starts with an initial investment of £1.6 million from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). Fund managers aim to raise an additional £3 million in donations over the next three years.
“I am hugely impressed by the leadership being shown by the NWDA and Groundwork, which shows the commitment to fighting climate change at all levels across the UK,” said Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock. “The work being done in the Northwest should be seen as an example to everyone of what we need to be doing to meet our ambitious emissions reduction targets.
She continued, “During the current economic difficulties it is important that we look after the most vulnerable in our society and I am particularly pleased to see a central theme of Foundation’s work is helping households reduce their bills by introducing energy efficiency measures.”
Foundation projects will be selected based on an ability to demonstrate their carbon savings, whilst projects that otherwise struggle to find support elsewhere will be prioritised. Projects will be chosen not only for their pound-per-carbon-saving ratio, but will be given priority for innovations that also tackle issues such as fuel poverty or biodiversity.
“Foundation will make a significant impact across the Northwest, helping the region to tackle climate change,” said Mark Turner, chief officer of Foundation, Groundwork Northwest. “All the projects supported will also deliver a wide range of social and economic benefits — improving the standard of living and quality of life, often in some of the most deprived parts of the region.”