Empower Sunderland Local Community Fund

The fund grants money to energy and environmental projects in Sunderland that will help the local community.

Who Empower grants are for

Empower grants have been awarded to:

  • fit solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to a community centre
  • install double glazing and new heating systems in community centres
  • install LED lighting in a library and an equestrian centre
  • install a new boiler to replace an old boiler and complete any needed work

Empower grants are used to fund:

  • projects that create alternative energy sources
  • projects that reduce how much energy is used
  • projects that reduce or reverse negative social, environmental, or social and environment effects
  • feasibility studies
  • activities required to complete the project onsite
  • extending existing energy efficiency schemes that need finance

To make sure grants are only used for their intended purpose, we will only fund projects that:

  • are transparent
  • clearly report how it affects the local community
  • we can monitor and visit

How to apply for an Empower grant

You can apply for a grant any time. Organisations can only receive one grant each year. Fill in the application form to apply for a grant.

Once we have awarded the annual funding, we will not review any applications until the next financial year.

Empower grants cannot be used to pay for:

  • projects or activities outside the Sunderland local council area
  • projects or activities that are the responsibility of a statutory organisation, like a council
  • projects or activities that have already happened
  • projects that promote political or religious activities
  • legally required health and safety equipment, or to upgrade this equipment
  • major capital projects
  • ongoing running costs
  • school curriculum activities that take place during the school day
  • sponsorship or fundraising activities

Match funding

Match or contributory funding from another source is not essential, but we will view those applications positively.

When you apply for an Empower grant

You must complete the entire application form and explain:

  • what you intend to do
  • why it is needed
  • what difference it will make to your area or whoever gets help from it

You must include 3 recent quotes for any goods or services.

Send your completed application form to:

Steven Cook
Head of Asset Sustainability
Empower Sunderland Local Community Fund
c/o Gentoo Group
Emperor House
2 Emperor Way
Doxford International Business Park

If you have any questions, call Steven Cook on 07734 597 743 or email steven.cook@

What happens after you apply

A panel administers the fund and meets every 3 months. It includes:

  • Empower community trustees
  • Sunderland residents
  • employees from Sunderland City Council
  • employees from Gentoo

We check your form to make sure it is complete, and you meet the funding criteria.

We will review your application at the next Empower Sunderland Local Community Fund panel meeting. We may contact you and ask you attend a later panel meeting if we need to confirm any details or need more information before we decide to give you funding.

If your application is about a building, you must answer any questions we ask about who owns it and who maintains it.

If you have a lease, you must give us a copy of it. If you apply for more than £2,500, you must give us a commercial energy performance certificate (EPC) or energy audit. You can include the cost to get this in your application. A photo of the building and any items you want to replace can also be helpful.

We will contact you to let you know if your application has been successful.

How grants are awarded and monitored

If your application is successful, a representative from your organisation or group must sign the Empower terms and conditions. You must agree that the grant will be used for the purpose set out in your application. If this agreement is broken, we will ask you to pay the grant back.

We issue grant award payments by Bacs to your organisation or group’s bank account. We check how the grant award is being spent to make sure it is used for the purpose set out in your application form. This may include a visit to your organisation or group.

When you have spent the grant, you must give us the receipts. The value of the receipts must match the amount of grant you received. If you cannot give us receipts, we may ask you to pay the grant back, and exclude your group or organisation from applying again.

If you spend less than the grant, you must pay back the balance.

You must have proof that shows any grant money you paid to third parties and they did what you paid them for.

You must agree to acknowledge the support of the Empower Sunderland Local Community Fund. This should be in all promotional activities or publicity material that the grant supports.

You must give Empower Sunderland permission to use your name and any pictures taken or given to them in any of their promotional material or social media activities.

You must:

  • send us information, photographs and publicity about the project
  • complete an evaluation form 12 months after getting the grant
  • give us receipts for the total grant value when you have used the entire grant

We may reclaim the grant if:

  • you used it for things not stated on your application form
  • you do not complete an evaluation form
  • we cannot confirm how or where you spent the grant

Further information

Empower Sunderland Local Community Fund: application form (PDF, 461KB)

Empower Sunderland Local Community Fund: terms and conditions (PDF, 80KB)

Empower Sunderland Local Community Fund: guidance for applicants (PDF, 5.1MB)

Empower Sunderland Local Community Fund: 12 month monitoring and evaluation form (DOCX, 64KB)