We’re really proud to have partnered with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as its Official Nature & Carbon Neutral Supporter. Together we’ll assist their pledge to leave a carbon-neutral legacy - because when we look after nature, it benefits your water too!
To maximise the legacy of the Games and our environmental partnership, the Severn Trent Community Fund is looking for new projects that aim to reduce carbon and help communities care for nature across the Severn Trent region.
Applications for funding open on Monday 10 January 2022 and close on Sunday 20 February 2022.
This guidance document will help you to prepare for your application so you're ready to submit it as soon as we open.
Before you apply
Check your project is eligible and fits our aims
Check whether your organisation and project are eligible
What we can fund
You can apply for a grant if your organisation is not for profit with an annual income of less than £500,000 (averaged over the last 3 years) and you have a governing document.
Applications can be made by organisations including:
- Local Authority or Parish Council
- Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) / foundation CIO
- Registered Company (limited by guarantee) / Community Interest Company
- Registered Charity
- Volunteer / community group
The proposed project must be located in the Severn Trent region and the community it is benefiting must be Severn Trent customers. You can use the postcode checker below if you are unsure.
IMPORTANT: Organisations applying for the Gold Award grant must be either charity registered or company registered, an exempt charity, Local Authority or Parish Council.
What we can't fund
Unfortunately, we can’t fund:
- Any organisation that is legally able to make a profit
- General organisation, past or current project costs – your application must be for a completely new project
- Projects where we are NOT the majority funder (51% or more of total project cost)
- Projects with a political or religious purpose
- Projects that aren’t sustainable (e.g. the project would need a further grant to continue beyond our investment)
- Retrospective costs – Project/work that has already taken place
- Any project that is to the detriment of Severn Trent and its interests (e.g. projects that use large volumes of mains water, that use mains water irresponsibly or do not use water efficient alternatives where possible)
- Projects that have already received funding from us
Check whether you can use the grant to pay for your proposed costs
Here is a list of our eligible and ineligible costs. Please email our team if you are still unsure or if a certain project cost is not listed.
Ensure you have the correct documentation to fill out your application
As part of the application process, we will ask you to tell us about how your organisation is structured and how you manage finances. The following table sets out the key areas you will need to provide evidence for or confirm you have in place, and when in the process this is required.
If you do not have all or any of these in place, let us know! We may be able to signpost you to advice and guidance.
|Evidence||Application stage||Grant Offer stage|
A legal structure that is appropriate to the size and nature of the organisation, set out in a constitution or memorandum/articles of association that clearly outlines the aims and rules governing the organisation. This should include not for profit status, application of income and a dissolution clause/asset lock.
Accounts and Financial Management
Full accounting records for the last 3 years (if available) which are appropriate to the size and nature of your organisation including income and expenditure accounts, plus the balance sheet. If you are a new organisation we need to see projected financials for the next 12 months.
A recent bank statement (dated within the last three months) to confirm where the grant if awarded will be paid.
Bank Account Signatories
Bank Account with at least two signatories for joint authorisation (not related or living at the same address).
Project Consent Form/Lease agreement or deeds (Capital works)
If your project is making a physical change to your surroundings, we will ask to see your property deeds or lease agreement. These should be in the name of your organisation. If your project is being completed on leased land you must also have the landowner complete the project consent form. Please note, we require a minimum remaining lease term for the different grant requests as follows:
If your organisation has a rolling annual lease, for Bronze and Silver Award applications we may be able to accept written confirmation from the landowner that your organisation is able to lease the land for the above terms. This will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
If your project will be on third-party land, please contact us to check your project is eligible.
If any aspect of your project involves a change to an indoor or outdoor space, or activities will be taking place outdoors, you may need to get planning permission. Make sure you read the UK Government guidance on planning permission to check whether you need it or not: www.gov.uk/planning-permission-england-wales.
If planning permission is needed, you will need to have received this before applying to us.
Policies and Procedures
You will need to ensure you have policies and procedures in place relevant for your project. If you are unsure you can get help from your local infrastructure organisation or online sites such as the NSPCC.
Organisations must ensure that appropriate insurance certification and licences are in place. For example, public liability, professional indemnity (where appropriate) and employer’s liability.
Volunteering and match funding
We would love to maximise our impact for every project we support. For this reason we encourage all applications to provide match funding where possible, although it is not mandatory for any of the Award sizes in our carbon neutral themed quarter.
Match funding does not have to be in the form of cash. In-kind contributions for services or volunteering can add a great deal of value to lots of projects.
Please remember we must be the majority funder of the project, so you’ll need to be applying to us for at least 51% of the total project cost.
Including Value-added Tax in your budget and application
You may need to pay VAT on purchases made as part of your project and we can pay for this within the grant. Make sure you check whether VAT needs to be included when you develop your budget.
The amount of funding you request should only include VAT where you don’t intend to, or can’t, recover the VAT at a later date. If you later find that VAT claimed under the grant becomes recoverable, you must repay this amount to us.
Check your timescales fit with ours
Open for applications: 10 January 2022
Closed for applications: 20 February 2022
Panel shortlist: March 2022
Public voting (open for 3 weeks): April 2022
Awards paid: May 2022
We can’t allow grant money to sit untouched, so please ensure your project is able to start by August 2022.
IMPORTANT: We can only accept 1 application per organisation for consideration.
If your application is awarded, we will happily consider future projects for funding through our Community Fund once your funded project is completed, all required monitoring has been received, and at least 12 months have passed since the date on your previous grant offer letter.
If your application is unsuccessful you are welcome to reapply to the Community Fund with a different project.
Filling out the application
Sign up to create an account – From 10 January 2022, you can sign up to create an account on our application portal.
Create a profile - You will now be asked to create a profile for your organisation. We will need the person filling out the application to provide us with their details to be used throughout the process, so please triple check that the contact information you’ve entered is correct.
Eligibility check - You will be asked to certify that you meet our eligibility criteria.
Choose how much you want to apply for.
Begin your application - Once you have chosen which Award to apply for you can now begin filling out the application. We have designed our application form so it is easy to navigate, but please email our team if you have any queries.
You can save your application and come back to it another time, but please make sure you press ‘Save Draft’ before you do.
Submit your application - Once you have marked your application as complete, don’t forget to press SUBMIT within the portal homepage. Once submitted, you can no longer edit the application and you’ll receive a confirmation email to confirm we’ve received your application. We will let you know the final outcome of your application within four months of submission.
IMPORTANT: If you’ve applied to another funder for the same project and you’ve been successful, congratulations! Please let us know as soon as possible to allow another project to be awarded.
The Panel and Public Vote are approving funding for the costs outlined in your application so, whilst we understand plans and costs may change post award, unfortunately we can’t guarantee that changes will be possible. Please ensure the costs outlined in your application are accurate.
Review and approval process
Once you have submitted your application, your application will now be with our internal team to carry out due diligence, eligibility checks and an internal review.
Your application will be assessed and scored against the following criteria:
- Community and environmental need:
Is there a significant need for this project in the community? Is there evidence of good engagement and consultation with the community during planning? What impact will this project have on the local environment?
Is the project planned well with a detailed and robust budget breakdown? Have relevant permissions been considered; e.g. land ownership? How will project aims be measured? Have risks (including changing costs of materials) been anticipated and mitigated?
How will the project be sustained and bring benefit beyond the investment period? How will you ensure the project will still be running and maintained in a few years’ time and won’t rely on future grants?
- Value for money:
Is the amount requested good value compared to the number of beneficiaries, environmental benefits and overall impact of the project? Are costs expensive or inflated? Does the project seem like good value for money in comparison to similar projects?
Unfortunately, if your project is ineligible and/or is not a strong fit for our criteria, we will let you know that your application will not be progressing any further.
Community Fund Panel review
If your project passes our internal review and is a good fit for our criteria, your application will then be taken to our Community Fund Panel for shortlisting.
This is an independent Panel made up of our customers from across our region, who have lived experience of environmental protection, sustainability and supporting the local community.
Unfortunately, if your project is not successful, the Panel decision cannot be appealed. We will provide you with Panel comments and reasons why it was unsuccessful. You are welcome to reapply to the Community Fund with a different project.
We only reject applications with good reason so if you want to re-apply with a different project, please take the time to understand why your application was not successful and have a chat with us. We really would not want to disappoint you again.
Our Fund Officers are always available to discuss further applications with you.
Finalists shortlisted at panel stage will then be put to a public vote for 3 weeks in April 2022 via a dedicated webpage on www.stwater.co.uk.
Shortlisted applicants will be informed in mid-March 2022. We recommend you use as many channels as possible, such as social media and word-of-mouth, to promote your project and help you gain votes. Don’t worry, we can offer advice on this if you need it.
Account number and address technology will be used at vote count to ensure only Severn Trent customers can vote, and only one vote is counted per address.
The final winners in each category will be the organisations that secure the highest number of online votes in each Award – Bronze, Silver and Gold.
All runners up will receive a restricted grant of £1,000 to be used by their organisation – we will ask you how it would be used in your application.
In the event of a tie where more than one project has the same amount of public votes resulting in no clear outcome, the Severn Trent Customer Panel will have the final decision on which project is awarded.
Grant offer, payment and post award
Congratulations, the public have approved your funding and your application has been successful!
Accepting our offer
At this point, we will notify you that you have been successful and that you need to log onto your grant portal to view your Grant Offer letter.
There are 3 things you need to do before we can give you the funding:
- Read the Grant Offer letter and Terms and Conditions of the Grant carefully;
- Accept the Grant by signing the agreement;
- Provide us with your organisation’s banks details (with two unrelated signatories for joint authorisation), a recent bank statement (dated within the last 3 months) and any other requested documents (such as project consent form or evidence of tenure).
Please complete the above within 7 days of receiving your offer letter to avoid any delays. Your offer will be subject to a final financial check.
Payment will be made following acceptance of the grant and receipt of any required documents, as detailed in your offer letter, and will be made within a month of the project start date.
Keep us updated
We can’t wait to hear how your project is progressing and see it completed, so there will be some required monitoring during and at the end of your project.
We’d love to see your completed project in person too, so you may receive a visit from a member of our Community Fund Team or Customer Panel. The visit will be pre-arranged and will include discussions on the progress of your project, your budget and lessons learnt so far.
Promote your project and the Severn Trent Community Fund where possible
A condition of your offer is that you promote your project and the Severn Trent Community Fund where possible as this helps us sustain the fund. We will provide you with a toolkit, including press-release templates and Community Fund branding, to help you with this.
Complete your project on time
For all grant sizes, you must start your project by August 2022 and complete your project within 12 months.
Applications for other projects
We will happily consider future projects for funding once your funded project is completed, all required monitoring has been received, and at least 12 months have passed since the date on your previous grant offer letter.
We cannot, however, provide more funding for the same project you have already received funding from us for.