The CaST Account

United Utilities has created a dedicated Catchment Systems Thinking (CaST Account), with a total value of £300,000, available to support charitable organisations in delivering catchment based projects in the North West, specifically within United Utilities operating area. Eligible projects will be evaluated against two main criteria: 

Engagement with nature: ability to demonstrate a social element to the activity, such as community engagement in delivery or educational focus. 

Promoting natural capital markets: ability to demonstrate engagement of commercial interests in at least some of their funding and/or using markets to bring together potential funders of interventions with those who can deliver them.

A full outline of the principles of the CaST Account is below, as well as an application form. Please ensure you read all of the below details thoroughly before completing our CaST Account Application Form (PDF 104 KB opens in a new window).

Principles of the CaST Account

The CaST Account will operate in line with the following overarching principles:  

  • The CaST Account will only be available to organisations who hold charitable status. For multi-partner projects, the lead partner must hold charitable status. For these purposes, lead partners refers to the organisation that is ultimately responsible for ensuring delivery of the objectives of the project, as set out in the application form.

  • Funding will be capped at £50,000.00 maximum per organisation (note that where there are multiple organisations involved in a project they will be treated as a single organisation for the purpose of calculating the funding available to them and the number of applications permitted to be made for a project).

  • Organisations are permitted to make multiple applications for different projects, however only one application can be made per project and the total combined value of all applications made by an organisation over all projects cannot exceed £50,000.00.

  • If an organisation submits multiple applications for different projects, each application will be evaluated and assessed independently, not as a collective. 

  • Funding must be utilised to support delivery of interventions. Projects that are solely research and development will not be considered. 

  • Projects must be delivered within the North West of England, specifically within United Utilities’ operating area, and support in delivery of United Utilities' outcomes. 

  • All bids must include a clear project plan with spend profile, milestones and deliverables. 

  • All successful projects will receive funding in a minimum of three instalments: initial payment, interim payment and final payment on completion. Bids should indicate a timeframe for each of these payments. 

  • If a total project bid exceeds £25,000.00 and /or 18 month total duration, bids should consider within their spend profile additional milestones with additional payment instalments. 
  • Projects must be completed on or before 31/03/2023. 

Criteria specific principles are as follows: 

  • Engagement with nature

    • Projects would need to be able demonstrate a quantifiable social element to their activity such as community engagement in delivery or educational focus.

    • Projects should demonstrate how people who would not typically engage with the natural environment would benefit from the project. 

    • Outcomes of projects within this category should include:
      •  Demonstration of how the project will connect more people with their natural environment;
      • Clear understanding of how people will specifically be connected with the water environment; and
      • Measured understanding of how projects will lead to sustainable behavioural practices, inspiring communities to act differently within their natural and water environments.

    • Although not an essential criteria, projects that can demonstrate an element of match funding will be awarded higher prioritisation.
  • Promoting natural capital markets

    • Projects must demonstrate the engagement of commercial interests in at least some of their funding and/or using markets to competitively select where interventions will be delivered.

    • Outcomes of projects within this category should include: 
      • Demonstration of increased catchment resilience through innovative finance and investment mechanisms;
      • Enhancement of the environment and clear environmental benefits of the project; and
      • Clear understanding of the scalability of projects.

    • Project interventions must be selected through the use of markets or other commercial opportunities.
  • Application process

    • The application window will close at 5:00pm on 16/04/2021.

    • CaST account application form (PDF 104 KB opens in a new window).

    • Applications must be sent to ‘’ 

    • All applications will be collated, processed and an initial screening completed to ensure all mandatory requirements have been met. 

    • Any bids that do not meet the core principles will not be taken forward for evaluation. 

    • The CaST Account Approval Panel will meet in May 2021 to score and evaluate applications. Applications will be scored on their strength and quality in relation to the principles outlined. 

    • No later than 31/05/2021 all applicants will be informed of a final decision, be they successful, or unsuccessful. Successful applicants will receive a letter of confirmation.

    • Payment process will commence as agreed in confirmation letters, in accordance with specific project timescales and subject to the applicant’s acceptance of United Utilities’ terms and conditions regarding their use and application of the funding they have been allocated which will be provided to them when they are notified that their application has been successful.
  • Please note

    • Successful applicants will also be required to enter into to a separate set of terms and conditions regarding the application and use of the funding that they are to be allocated from the CaST account prior to such funding being released to them. The proposed terms and conditions will be provided to successful applicants when they are notified that their application has been successful.

    • United Utilities reserves the right not to, and is under no obligation to, enter into any arrangement or obligation (including, without limitation, to provide any funding or other financial commitment) until, and subject to the provisions of, formal terms and conditions regarding the allocation of funding from the CaST account have been entered into between United Utilities and a successful applicant and so until that time United Utilities may withdraw, suspend or cancel the CaST account at any time without any liability on its part to the applicants or any other third party.

    • Projects will be administrated as either ‘engagement with nature’ or ‘promoting markets’. Applicants must decide which category their project suits best and submit accordingly.  

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