VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme
Posted: Thu, 1 Feb 2024 12:43 by Riya Ahmed
VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme
The £25.5 million VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme scheme is now open to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in England improve their energy efficiency.
It is part of the package of over £100 million of support announced by the Government at the Spring Budget 2023 to help frontline delivery organisations with the increased cost of living.
The scheme is being delivered by a consortium of partners, led by Groundwork UK and supported by Energy Saving Trust, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Locality, and Social Investment Business.
The VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme has 2 elements:
- Eligible organisations can apply for the cost and delivery of an independent energy assessment. This will help identify how to reduce bills through measures such as improving or installing new energy features in the building, or changing how energy is used. These assessments will be useful to organisations whether or not they apply for the second element.
This part of the scheme opened to applications in December 2023, and will remain open until August 2024, with decisions being made on a rolling basis.
- Organisations with an energy assessment may then be eligible to apply for a capital grant to install the recommended energy efficiency measures in their premises.
This part of the scheme opened to applications in January 2024 and organisations can apply through three grant rounds, the last of which will close in August 2024. All capital grants must be spent by 31 March 2025, so all organisations, but particularly those with more complex projects, are encouraged to apply early to ensure sufficient time for the installation of measures.
To apply for an independent energy assessment, organisations must:
- be based and operating in England
- be a VCSE organisation, with charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes
- be delivering frontline services or operating a hub (a building) that delivers multiple frontline services
- be able to evidence the need for energy efficiency support
- be able to evidence that they are financially sustainable
- not be suitable for blended finance or loan support through other energy focused schemes
In addition to the independent energy assessment eligibility criteria set out above, to be eligible for a capital grant, organisations must:
- have been operating for a minimum of 2 years
- have an independent energy assessment identifying the capital energy-saving measures they wish to apply for (delivered through this scheme or outside of it)
- provide evidence that the energy efficiency measure(s) they are requesting a grant for will enhance their financial resilience and support the delivery of frontline services
- have a long-term arrangement with their premises, either owning the building or having a minimum of 2 years left on the lease
- have permission to make the alterations required to your premises, including the consent of the building owner (where required) and have applied for any relevant planning permissions or environmental licences
- ensure that projects can be delivered within the scheme's timeframes, with all funds spent and projects completed by March 2025
Priority will be given to organisations:
- for whom energy is the biggest concern
- directly supporting individuals and communities with critical needs, particularly those related to the rising cost of living
- with a turnover of less than £1m a year
- projects that have the best value for money (for capital grants only)
Practical support will be available to help organisations manage capital installation projects. All measures will need to be installed and paid for by March 2025.
More information on the scheme, including application guidance and an eligibility checker, is available at the VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme website.