The purpose of this fund is to encourage innovative community, school or business projects that support the Council's vision and strategic priorities.

The Innovation and Sustainability Fund is currently closed

Due to COVID-19 our timeline for the fund has changed and will no longer reopen 1 July 2020.

Check back for updates on application deadlines and when the fund will reopen.

You are welcome to submit an application any time throughout the year. We will hold your application for a funding decision when the fund reopens.

View previously funded projects.


The Council’s vision is for Christchurch to be a city of opportunity, open to new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things, a city where anything is possible.

The Council’s strategic priorities focus on:

  • active citizenship
  • climate change leadership
  • energy and water efficiency
  • waste minimisation
  • active and public transport
  • healthy waterways
  • resilience to natural hazards
  • creating a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable twenty-first-century city.

Innovative investment reaps community benefits

The Innovation and Sustainability Fund is aimed at encouraging innovation has helped finance a food rescue service in Christchurch, a tool library in Lyttelton, and a pest control initiative in Little River.

These three innovative projects are among more than 32 projects to have received grants from Christchurch City Council’s Innovation and Sustainability Fund since it was set up in September 2017. 

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Community organisations, social enterprises and businesses can apply to this fund. Preference will be given to Christchurch-based organisations or partnerships involving Christchurch organisations. Generally, applications lead by central, regional or local government organisations will not be considered. Partnerships involving government organisations are acceptable.
  • Applicants seeking up to and including $10,000 can be made by an individual, however applications from legal entities (per the below bullet point) are preferred. 
  • Applicants seeking more than $10,001 must be a legal entity registered in New Zealand such as an incorporated society, charitable trust or limited liability company.  Individuals seeking funding will need to partner with a legal entity and include an endorsement letter from that legal entity in the application. 
  • This fund will not support projects principally advancing commercial or personal gain. Proposals must deliver a public good or environmental outcome for Christchurch.
  • Only one application per project will be accepted each Council financial year (July to June). Organisations may put forward more than one project in a year. 
  • This fund is intended to deliver tangible outcomes that benefit Christchurch. Funding will generally not be allocated to projects solely undertaking investigations such as scoping, research or feasibility. 
  • Applicants should have made efforts to secure funding from other sources before applying to this fund.

Proposals will be assessed against the following evaluation criteria and how they respond to the Council’s vision and strategic priorities.  Applications should consider how they meet each of the following criteria: 

Evaluation criteria Explanation
Innovation The project is a new idea or locally applies good ideas and approaches from elsewhere or supports innovation in Christchurch. 
Sustainability The project addresses a sustainability issue or opportunity of particular importance to Christchurch. Consideration will be given to the nature or scale of benefits provided and the significance of the issue or opportunity being addressed by the project.
Legacy The project will be able to deliver benefits beyond the funding period, it can have enduring benefits or can be self-sustaining. 
Deliverable The applicant is able to successfully deliver the project and achieve the stated outcomes (e.g. the applicant has the required skills, experience, resources or support to complete the project).
Measurable The project will result in measureable benefits or outcomes for Christchurch that will be monitored and reported on at the completion of the project.

Applications will be considered by the Council’s Innovation and Sustainable Development Committee. 

View the Committee’s membership and terms of reference.

A total of $400,000 per year has been allocated by the Council until 2025. 

To enable swift decision making, applications seeking up to and including $10,000 will be approved by the Head of Urban Regeneration, Urban Design and Heritage. Applications seeking between $10,001 and $100,000 will be delegated to the Innovation and Sustainable Development Committee, and Council approval will be required for Committee funding recommendations over $100,001. 

Generally the fund will provide no more than 60 per cent of the project costs with the remainder to come from other sources. These can include in-kind contributions such as time or resources supplied to the project by others. In general, funds allocated should be spent within twelve months of being received. Multi-year applications can be considered provided the business case is compelling and progress reports for milestones are provided.

Funds can be requested for operational aspects (e.g. staff time) and for materials or equipment needed to successfully deliver the project outcomes.

Organisations that are GST registered should be aware that this grant is an unconditional gift and does not attract GST.

Applicants are encouraged to approach other funds that may be more suited to specific proposals.

The following will not generally be funded:

  • projects solely undertaking investigations such as scoping, research or feasibility.
  • retrospective costs incurred or settled before the agreed commencement date of the funding agreement
  • debt servicing or re-financing costs
  • stock or capital market investment
  • gambling or prize money
  • payment of any legal expenditure, including costs or expenditures related to mediation disputes or ACC, Employment Tribunal, Small Claims Tribunal, Professional or Disciplinary Body hearings 
  • payment of fines, court costs, mediation costs, IRD penalties or retrospective tax payments
  • purchase of land and buildings 
  • purchase of vehicles and any related ongoing maintenance, repair, overhead costs or road user charges 
  • activities or initiatives where the primary purpose is to promote religious ministry, political objectives, commercial or profit-oriented interests
  • medical or healthcare costs, including treatment and insurance fees
  • fundraising 
  • money that will be redistributed as grant funding, sponsorship, donations, bequests, aid funding or aid to other recipients
  • entertainment costs, catering/food or private social functions 
  • air travel, accommodation, hotel/motel expenses
  • conference fees and costs 
  • projects that have received other Council funding in the same financial year 
  • projects that are considered to be the primary responsibility of local or central government or another funding body.