Pride of Place grant

Nature based Pride of Place grant scheme - now live!

Our Pride of Place grant scheme remains open for applications! 

There is no single deadline date for applications. All applications received one month, will be considered and funds awarded the following month. This will continue until all the funds have been allocated.

This 100% grant funding is to help create, tidy up or enhance somewhere special in your community, and benefit the natural environment.

The terms and conditions are set out below. An application form, including the terms and conditions, is available to download below, or you can apply online. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions on this page before completing your application. If you would like a Word document version of the application form, please contact us at prideofplace@eastcambs.gov.uk

Grant amount available

Grants are on a first come, first served basis, subject to the detailed terms and conditions below.

The original funding pot had £100,000 available and launched in June 2023.

The current remaining balance available for grants is approximately £38,000 (as at mid February 2024). We will update this figure, as and when grants have been approved, so everyone is clear how much remains available.

Grants awarded so far

By February 2024, we have already approved nineteen Pride of Place projects. Grants have been awarded to Parish Councils, Community Groups, Schools and Churches, and range from a new pond in Littleport to a new wildlife area in Soham. Grants have also been given to projects in Fordham, Bottisham and Cheveley, and several other locations across East Cambridgeshire. The approved projects include proposals such as new or regenerated ponds, wildflower seeds and grass verge improvements, bird and bat boxes, together with lots of tree planting projects. Several of the projects include improvements to public walkways or seating, so that everyone can enjoy the newly improved nature areas.

Terms, conditions and grant aim

The grant funding is to help create, tidy up or enhance somewhere special in your community, and benefit the natural environment.

Who can apply?

Applicants must:

  • Be a non-profit group or organisation (including schools) based in East Cambridgeshire or benefiting East Cambridgeshire residents, or be a parish council in East Cambridgeshire
  • Have a written constitution or mission statement
  • Have an elected committee or representative steering group
  • Have a bank account associated to the group, organisation or council, where grants can be payable to
  • Be able to provide an up to date copy of their accounts or, as a minimum, a recent bank account statement
  • Have a safeguarding policy, or, if you do not have one, please makes it clear what your organisation or group will do to keep children or other vulnerable people safe during the implementation of the project
  • Have an equal opportunity policy. If you do not have one, please make it clear what your organisation or group will do to ensure equality of access to the project

What must the funded project deliver?

The community activity or project must:

  • Be located in East Cambridgeshire, meet an identified local need or opportunity, and leave a legacy for the community
  • Ensure equality of access – if full and free public access is not available to the completed project, a clear explanation of who will have access must be set out, and the reasons why any exclusions exist. A project in school grounds may, for example, be an allowable project despite a lack of full public access.  Projects on private land, with restricted, limited or nil public access, will not be approved funding
  • Help us deliver one or more of the following aims: Enhance the natural environment; A sustainable increase in local biodiversity; and/or enhance or create new, and predominantly natural, public open spaces

Example projects (not exhaustive):

  • Unkempt areas cleared (for example, bramble, litter or rubble clearance) and brought back into use or enjoyment (for example, converted to grass, shrub planting, orchard or informal natural play)
  • Tree planting (including orchard) (native only)
  • Bulb planting (appropriate to England)
  • Wildflower seed (native), with appropriate management plan of how it will be maintained
  • Hedgerow planting (native only)
  • Safety and security measures (for example, boundary fencing), where this would help improve use and value of land within such safety and security measures
  • Pond creation or improvement of old pond
  • Other habitat creation
  • Bird or bat boxes (to be located in suitable and public viewable areas, but can be located on private buildings)
  • ‘Edible’ planting areas in local park (for example, fruit bushes or trees, edible display planting such as rainbow chard)
  • Information and interpretation boards, but only if associated with one of the above measures

Excluded projects (not exhaustive):

  • Projects predominantly comprising new or enhanced hard landscaping such as paving. However, a small proportion of your project can be hard landscaping
  • Formal playground equipment (informal play equipment, such as woodland dens, willow hides, climbing tree stumps, is allowed; but metal or plastic manufactured play equipment and matting would not be allowed)
  • Buildings (informal buildings such as wooden hides for viewing wildlife are permitted)
  • Sports related
  • Projects were there is already a statutory requirement to undertake such works
  • Projects with no clear link to helping the creation, improvement, public use or better understanding of the natural environment

What can be funded?

The community activity or project should be one or more of the following:

  • the purchase of plants/seeds and equipment associated with their planting (such as tree stakes). Such plants should generally be native species
  • the construction and erection of bird and bat boxes in suitable locations
  • the creation or improvement of wildlife habitats (terrestrial or aquatic)
  • the improvement of existing habitat

What cannot be funded?

  • On-going revenue costs or overheads (for example, salaries, rent, advertising, promotional materials)
  • Projects that replace funding by other public sector bodies, including parish councils
  • Non-native plants, unless there is clear evidence of natural environment benefit

How much can be applied for?

A total of up to £100,000 funds are available for distribution as grants during 2023 and 2024. The maximum single grant award is £15,000.

However, £20,000 of the total available funds are reserved for small projects up to £1,000.

All grants can be for 100% of the project’s cost.

The Council reserves the right to prioritise projects based on quality and value for money of applications received. Eligibility does not guarantee grant funding.

When can groups apply?

Applications can be submitted any time from the grant scheme being launched (June 2023). The end date of the grant scheme is either

  • once all the budget is allocated or
  • by 30 September 2024 at the latest

For example, applications received by the end of July 2023, will be considered and funds awarded by end of August 2023. Thereafter, applications received each month will be considered by the Council in the following month.

Groups can apply at any time until the funding is fully allocated or until 30 September 2024. We will endeavour to keep the website up to date regarding the remaining sums available.

Ideally, the grant awarded should be spent by 31 December 2024. No spend should occur after 31 March 2025.

A group can apply for more than one grant during the lifetime of the scheme (for example, two grants for two different projects). However, the same group will not be awarded more than one grant in any three consecutive month period.

Project advice

Applicants are advised to seek the most suitable environmentally sensitive options when purchasing items for their projects and ideally this should be evidenced within the application.

For example, the planting of trees, hedgerows, wildflower meadows or other vegetation must be native unless there is clear evidence why this is not appropriate. The construction and erection of bird and bat boxes must be in suitable location, and an expectation that the boxes have been constructed with the environment in mind (for example, the use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) timber (external link), and without inappropriate wood preservatives applied).

Natural Cambridgeshire have produced a useful local nature recovery toolkit which provides guidance, advice and support for Communities wanting to create nature recovery plans, and these may help you identify projects for you to apply for funds.

What supporting documentation is required with this application?

  • A copy of your organisation’s constitution or mission statement
  • A recent bank statement for the account you would like the grant paid into. Statement must be dated within the last two months. Ideally, a copy of your latest accounts (audited if available) if you have one
  • Detail of the grant sum requested, and proportionate evidence to support that sum requested (such as a quote for the project, or a web link to the items to be purchased). Broad, but reasonable, estimates of costs are permitted where the final cost is unknown. However, once a grant has been awarded, there will be no opportunity to increase that grant should the cost exceed the estimate
  • A copy of your safeguarding policy, if you have one. If you don’t have one, please makes it clear what your organisation or group will do to keep children or other vulnerable people safe during the implementation of the project
  • A plan of the proposed work, including a project map and project outcomes*
  • A timeline of the proposed work indicating mileposts and delivery dates*
  • A brief management plan which describes how the project will be sustainable. For example, if your grant application is to plant trees or sow wildflower seeds, who and how will they be maintained?*

*the details submitted under these criteria should be proportionate to the project proposed. For example, if the project is below £1,000, a simple map and brief description will be sufficient. For higher value projects, a little more detail will be expected. We will get in touch if we feel you have not provided enough information to explain what your project is, where it will take place or when it will take place.

In addition, the following will be required if relevant to the project:

  • Confirmation you are the landowner, or if not, you have clear consent from the landowner
  • Any other relevant material that would support your application

Special conditions for grants of £5,000 or more

If your grant request is £5,000 or more, you should also provide the following information when completing the application form:

  • A calculation of the geographical area that the project will take place in, in square meters. A reasonable estimate or rounding up can be given. The area calculated should be identified on a map
  • A description of how the land to be improved is currently used, especially in terms of public use. Ideally, how many people access the land presently, on a daily or weekly basis? And/or do you have any survey work demonstrating what people currently think of the land, what their perceptions are and what they would like to see?
  • A commitment to undertake a proportionate amount of survey work within three months of the project completing, to gauge whether there has been an increase in public use, and what the public’s views are of the project. For example, you might wish to commit to doing a brief visitor questionnaire, over a period of one to two hours and on two or three different days, asking a few simple questions to visitors, with the aim of trying to assess whether the project has been a success

How will the grant be paid?

If successful, the applicant will receive the grant payment once we have received acknowledgement of the grant offer and acceptance of the terms and conditions. Larger projects will receive interim payments.

What are the conditions of funding?

Groups that are awarded a grant will be expected to comply with the following conditions as a minimum:

  • Funding must only be used for the agreed purpose and spent within 12 months of the award being made, and by 31 March 2025 at the very latest
  • Any publicity must acknowledge the award provided
  • Unused grant must be returned to East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • A brief end of project notification must be submitted to East Cambridgeshire District Council within three months of project completion. For example, if you have planted some trees, a brief notification of how many and where. A photograph would be much appreciated
  • Any overspend or miscalculation resulting in increased costs will not be met by East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Repayment of the grant will be required if the applicant has acted fraudulently or negligently at any time or fails to comply with any of the conditions of the grant

Additional questions

If you have questions about these criteria, please contact us at prideofplace@eastcambs.gov.uk