Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, has introduced a new community grants program worth £1.7 million. This initiative aims to enhance the environmental sustainability and climate resilience of local areas. Through grants of up to £50,000, communities can implement various projects to reduce carbon emissions and create greener, healthier neighbourhoods.

The eligible projects for funding encompass a wide range of areas, including nature conservation, promoting well-being through walking and cycling, enhancing energy efficiency in buildings, and supporting the generation of renewable energy. Crucially, each project must demonstrate its positive impact on disadvantaged communities and its contribution to carbon emission reduction.

The implementation of this grants scheme will be a collaborative effort between the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the region’s five local authorities. These authorities will align the funds with their respective local net-zero priorities to ensure effective and targeted support.

This community grants program is accessible to a diverse array of beneficiaries, including community and voluntary groups, as well as social enterprises. The goal is to facilitate the successful completion of projects, which are expected to be carried out by December 2024, resulting in tangible benefits for both the environment and the communities involved.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said; “We are determined to create a greener, fairer region in the face of the climate emergency and cost of living crisis.

“That’s why we’re stepping in to help communities make that essential transition to net zero and become more resilient against the effects of climate change.

“As we work to deliver our mission of a net zero West Yorkshire by 2038, we need to make sure that no community is left behind.

“That is why we’re working with our partners and local people across the region to make positive, greener changes that will benefit all.”

Cllr Jane Scullion, Leader of Calderdale Council and Chair of the Climate Committee said; “We really welcome these community grants to support local projects aimed at our priority of taking climate action – not just as a Council, but as a whole place, where working together gets the best outcomes for our environment.

“Building on the fantastic ongoing joint work with the Community Foundation for Calderdale, we plan to use the Combined Authority funding to continue supporting local voluntary sector projects to tackle climate change.

“Many community groups in Calderdale are already leading the way on climate action and showing what’s possible, which is just what we need as the borough progresses the Calderdale Climate Action Plan and takes the lead on the ‘sustainable West Yorkshire’ mission as part of the recently launched West Yorkshire Plan, helping everyone to live sustainable lives.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said; “This extra funding is very welcome in the Bradford District, and we hope it will inspire community groups to develop and realise some innovative projects to mitigate the effects of climate change and cut carbon emissions.

“We are also keen to see expressions of interest from underrepresented groups and projects from groups which have no other source of funding. It is only by working together across all our communities that we can achieve our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2038.”

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said; “We are already seeing the effects of climate change and we have no time to waste.

“We have set ambitious carbon reduction targets, both for the Council and the district, and we know that to make progress we all need to work together.

“These grants will make it much easier for our local communities to make some vital changes and reduce their carbon emissions, improving the quality of life for everyone in our district.”

Cllr Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Climate, Energy, Environment and Green Spaces, said; “Through cutting energy bills, creating and improving access to nature-rich green spaces, or by encouraging people to be more active–the actions we all take to tackle climate change are also key to closing some of Leeds’ most damaging inequalities.

“While Leeds City Council has been leading by example and delivering hundreds of millions of pounds of climate action ourselves in recent years, we know that nobody knows our communities better than the groups and enterprises based within them.

“That’s why I am delighted that, thanks to the Mayor of West Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, we are now able to directly provide funding to these groups, unlocking new opportunities to improve their areas and deliver even more climate action.”

Cllr Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, said; “We have ambitious goals in Kirklees, to be Climate Ready and reach Net Zero by 2038, and we need as many groups and individuals as possible to take action. This scheme is a fantastic way to support our communities to get involved.

“It’s great that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority share in our vision, these grants will make a real difference across Kirklees and all of West Yorkshire, with so many communities seeing the benefit.”