Biodiversity Carbon Climate Change Environment News Round-up Press releases Sustainability

£2M funding pot to help North East’s third sector reach net zero

Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund opens for applications after successful pilot

Social enterprises in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray can now apply for a share of a £2 million funding pot designed to support the third sector with the transition to net zero.

The Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund – supported by the Scottish Government – has been extended following a successful pilot year, during which seven social enterprises received financial support for sustainable projects.

A ‘Just Transition’ means moving to a more sustainable economy, diversifying the regional economy away from carbon-intensive industries, ensuring the creation of good, green jobs and ensuring all communities directly benefit and contribute to the region’s future prosperity.

Managed by Social Investment Scotland (SIS), the Just Transition Fund offers sums of between £20,000 and £400,000 comprising a mix of grant and loan funding. Applicants must demonstrate their organisation’s commitment to a just transition by delivering outcomes such as empowering and invigorating local communities, sharing the benefits of climate action to address social inequalities and addressing issues related to fuel poverty.

Among the organisations that received support through the fund last year is the Aberdeen Arts Centre, which secured finance to help with net zero upgrades to its facilities. Following a £34,000 award from the fund, the centre revamped its stage lighting, with 15 new LED lanterns helping to cut its energy footprint.

The arts centre building was originally designed as a church in 1831 and while many of the original features remain, the charity is undertaking a series of upgrades to future-proof the performance space. It is also teaming up with Aberdeen Heat and Power, a not-for-profit specialising in district heat networks, to introduce a new power source.

Amy Liprott, director of Aberdeen Arts Centre, commented: “The arts centre plays an important role in the local community, and we want people to have the best possible facilities to use for performing arts and theatre for years to come. Being kinder to the planet is important to us, and while it is not always straightforward in an older building, the switch to LED lighting is just the beginning of our ambition to become more environmentally sound.”

Organisations interested in applying for the Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund have until Friday 4 August to complete an expression of interest form.

Chris Jamieson, head of investments at SIS, said: “Supporting charities, social enterprises and the community with funding to underpin environmental ambitions will be key to future-proofing a range of organisations and facilities, as well as helping Scotland to reach net zero. We would encourage third sector organisations and social enterprises of all shapes and sizes who are looking to reach net zero to get in touch and apply for funding.

“The Aberdeen Arts Centre is a great example of the type of project we’re keen to support. While the net-zero upgrades will make the building more sustainable and help the centre to cut down on energy costs, it is also helping to modernise the building and make it fit for the next generation of performers.”

Màiri McAllan, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition, added: “The Scottish Government is determinedly supporting communities in the North East and Moray to make the transition to net zero. It has been great to see the enthusiasm with which social enterprises have responded to the Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund and this year we have doubled funding support from the Scottish Government. I encourage social enterprises in the North East and Moray to apply with sustainable projects which will help to bring environmental and economic benefit, green jobs and greater equality to the region.”