Hepburn Shire Council has announced that it will help three local community groups to reduce their environmental impact through the latest round of Towards Zero grants.

Council will provide almost $10,000 to the Rotary Club Daylesford to help them install energy efficient lighting for the Rotary Daylesford Art Show. A co-contribution from Rotary Club Daylesford of $6,500 brings the total project cost to $16,500.

Hepburn Wholefoods Collective will receive $1,800 to introduce foldable, re-usable heavy-duty polypropylene food crates, and to manage their circulation among the network of local farmers. The proposal is to initially trial this with two or three main fresh food suppliers, in order to work out the effectiveness of the scheme, identify potential issues or barriers, and to assess the effectiveness of keeping foam boxes from landfill.

Council will also contribute $26,000 to Trentham Sustainability Group for the Energy and Climate Resilient Trentham initiative. This will see the group deliver a detailed plan to significantly increase the proportion of renewable energy produced in Trentham and increase operating resilience of the electricity supply to essential services, businesses, and the wider community. The project will stimulate greater business and private take-up of solar, batteries and reliable energy supply through solutions like community energy grids. A co-contribution of $18,000 has been committed by CCCE Ltd, the company that operates Trentham and Districts Community Bank, bringing the total project funding to $44,000.

Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt, said these grants provide essential funds to support community groups to take local action. “Congratulations to Rotary Club Daylesford, Hepburn Wholefoods Collective and Trentham Sustainability Group for leading this work,” said Cr Hewitt. “It’s wonderful to see local groups taking action to reduce their environmental impact.

“Council is proud to support these three different, but important projects, through our grants program,” she said.

As a member of the Hepburn Z-NET partnership, Council is working together with community groups and experts to shift Hepburn Shire to zero net energy (producing as much energy as it consumes) by 2025 and zero net carbon emissions by 2030.

“We’re hearing from the community the importance of taking action in respect to climate change and protecting the environment. This was a key priority for our community when we asked about what’s most important when developing our four-year Council Plan,” said Cr Hewitt.

“Our Towards Zero grants is just one really practical way that we are supporting our community to make changes for the better, and ties to our key focus area to create a resilient and sustainable environment,” she said.