Frequently asked questions

Our Bristol Community Energy Fund is a city-wide scheme and fairly complex. We’re really keen to make it as easy to understand as possible, whatever your level of understanding. That’s why we’ve developed some basic frequently asked questions based on the queries that we’ve had from you so far.

We’ll keep adding questions over time, so if you have a question that’s not answered here, please drop us a line via our contacts page.

The Bristol Community Energy Fund is  a Bristol City Council Scheme set up in 2015 to help support local people to deliver energy-efficiency projects and increase Bristol’s renewable energy supply.  Seed-funding has been provided by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to kick-start the Bristol Community Energy Fund’s activities.

We’ve launched the Bristol Community Energy Fund with a grant funding offer, allowing community groups to bid for up to £10,000 of funding per project. For a bit more detail, visit our Grants page.

We’re also in the process of developing an offer for loan funding, due to launch later in 2016.  To find out more information, visit our Loans page.

Your project needs to be based in the City of Bristol. If you aren’t sure, have a look at the council’ boundary map or speak to one of our support workers for advice.

We’ve got you covered. We’ve built a handy map that lists all of the community energy projects that have been delivered across Bristol to date. We’ll continue to update this regularly adding in the new projects that we’re supporting through the Bristol Community Energy Fund. You can click on the map pins for more information about each project. Visit our projects map and have look.

Let us know via the Contacts page. The projects map is still a work in progress, so it’s possible that we are aware of the project but haven’t yet added it to the website.

Yes you can. If your group doesn’t have a constitution or bank account in the name of your group, you will need to provide details of a sponsor organisation that has both of these and has agreed to receive and administer the funds for you. Your sponsor will be accountable for your grant and will need to agree to the grant conditions should your application be successful. For more information please contact our partners at Bristol Energy Network via thando@bristolenergynetwork.org or call 07871 791 662.

Yes! We want applicants to feel as supported as possible when submitting their applications. The Bristol Energy Network will be providing this support. Please contact our partners at Bristol Energy Network via thando@bristolenergynetwork.org or call 07871 791 662.

If you have any questions about completing your application form please contact Andrew O’Sullivan at the Quartet Community Foundation via applications@quartetcf.org.uk or call 0117 989 7700.

Yes it can. We appreciate that some projects can’t succeed without the help of some paid time. However, salaries and consultancy fees shouldn’t make up the majority of the sum that you are applying for.

We want to promote the use of volunteers wherever possible. Have a look at the Volunteer Bristol website if you are looking for volunteers in your area. If you have any questions, please contact our partners at Bristol Energy Network via thando@bristolenergynetwork.org or call 07871 791 662.

The Bristol Community Energy Fund has a priority to support community led or community partnered groups as the fund at this time wishes to stimulate the energy conversation across communities in Bristol that may not have already engaged in energy related projects. If you aren’t a community led group or partnered with one, this doesn’t mean that you can’t apply, but we would ask that you consider ways in which your project could work with people in your community who are most affected by energy issues, such as fuel poverty, or those groups who are underrepresented in the energy movement, e.g. older people, disabled people, BME and migrant communities.

For more information on partnerships please contact our partners at Bristol Energy Network via thando@bristolenergynetwork.org or call 07871 791 662.

Yes! However, all energy efficiency installation projects must be accompanied by an education/awareness campaign for the community about the energy efficiency measure – for example, how they could do something similar in their home or other community building. Stand-alone energy efficiency projects with no education/awareness element will not be funded.

Bristol City Council operates the Salix energy efficiency fund for Bristol’s non-domestic buildings: a £1.2 million fund, operated on an “invest to save” basis. This means that energy efficiency measure in your community building owned by Bristol City Council could be eligible for this scheme where installations pay for themselves on the cost of energy savings over a certain time period. In order to make best use of the Bristol Community Energy Fund, we would ask that anyone with a Bristol City Council owned building does not apply to the Fund for energy efficiency projects.

However, Bristol Community Energy Fund encourages applications for energy educational and behaviour change campaigns. If you are interested in energy efficiency changes in your building, please email us at info@bristolcommunityenergy.co.uk and we’ll be able to advise you on whether your building and chosen energy efficiency measure is suitable for this scheme.

The fund does not support arts projects with no significant community or charitable element. The primary element of any arts projects that apply must be energy. This could be community energy education using the arts. The panel will be looking for evidence of this in your application. Once again, priority will be given to applications that focus on people in your community who are most affected by energy issues, such as fuel poverty, or those groups who are underrepresented in the energy movement, e.g. older people, young people, disabled people, lower income, BME and migrant communities. Please also note that any artwork/installation that is produced with a community will remain the property of that community to continue the legacy of the project.

We ask that all projects/groups that apply to the Bristol Community Energy Fund have an energy focus. This isn’t to say that a group or project with a different aim couldn’t apply, but it is important that these applications clearly make a connection with energy e.g. educating people about food miles or low carbon ways of producing food. Reporting on the amount of carbon dioxide saved as a result of the project is also necessary. This must be a prominent part of the application.

To keep things simple, we’ve agreed that an application for funding cannot be considered by Bristol Community Energy Fund more than twice. This gives applicants who were previously unsuccessful a second chance to refine their funding application.

Yes, of course! In fact, we will prioritise funding for equalities-led groups, or organisations that are working in partnership with equalities-led groups, particularly those led by communities that are most affected by energy issues, such as fuel poverty, or those groups who are underrepresented in the energy movement, e.g. older people, disabled people, BME and migrant communities.

When assessing applications for partnerships we will be looking for evidence that it is a genuine partnership. Factors we will look at include:

  1. Whether the application has been jointly submitted
  2. Evidence that the project idea was jointly developed. However, we expect projects that primarily affect a particular community to be led by that community, for example, a project that aims to give advice to disabled people should be developed and led by disabled people, potentially with support from another group if needed.
  3. How the budget is shared between the partner organisations involved

We reserve the right to contact any organisations listed in the application as partners to check that it is a genuine partnership.