Guidance to develop your full proposal for Climate Action Fund - Our Shared Future

Guidance to develop your full proposal for Climate Action Fund - Our Shared Future

When developing your full application, you should refer to our criteria and priorities for this specific fund, the Climate Action Fund – Our Shared Future.

If you are applying to Climate Action Fund - Energy and Climate, you should refer to our guidance to develop your full proposal for Energy and Climate.

What we'll fund

We’ll fund partnership projects that involve more people in climate action and inspire bold and exciting change.

Projects should do this by either:

  • linking climate action to the everyday lives and interests of local communities, and inspiring them to take action

    We want to get people involved in climate action through their regular activities. This could include communities they are part of and clubs they attend. Or other interests like arts, sports and health.

    We want projects to show that climate action works best when communities have their say. And to help communities share their message. For example, with peers or with other sectors.

  • influencing communities at a regional or national level

    Like linking up groups across locations. Or working with public engagement experts on a bold campaign to inspire change. Or helping communities to influence the people who make policies that affect them. This could be in one country, or across the whole UK.

Though our funding is available to all communities, we take an equity-based approach. This means we’ll invest most in places, people and communities who experience poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. Our work aims to support communities to build from their strengths. We’ll support what matters most to different communities, including long-term investment to address deep-rooted challenges, and want to understand how that has shaped the design and running of your project.

You should remember to reflect this in all the answers in your full proposal. This is some more information by checking the equality principles on our website.

Considering your environmental impact

We're committed to helping you protect the environment. You can check our guidance on reducing your environmental impact.

Our Climate Action Hub also has information about our approach to tackling the climate emergency, including learning and insights, stories and funding.

How to submit your full proposal

There are five steps you should take to submit your full proposal:

  • Step 1 – respond to the seven application questions in this document.
  • Step 2 - gather the latest annual accounts for yourself and any partners who will be receiving funding.
  • Step 3 – complete the project budget using the template provided, including income projections for any partners in the project.
  • Step 4 – create and include a project plan.
  • Step 5 - fill out an online form where you will answer more questions about your project and organisation. We will also ask you to upload the documents you create in steps 1 to 4 at this stage.

Step 1 – respond to our questions

You’ll need to prepare the answers to these questions in a word document (or similar). You should then upload the document you create when you get to ‘Step 5’.

There are word limits for each question. We cannot guarantee that we will read text that goes beyond the word limits. We will not accept annexes such as research papers or evaluation documents unless we’ve specifically asked for them.

You should tell us:

1. What's your vision and long-term goals for your project?

You should tell us:

  • your overall vision for the project
  • the projects ­­activities and its expected outcomes
  • the evidence you have gathered to show the project is needed and is taking the most effective approach to achieve impact
  • how your activities will be sustainable after the funding period ends

You can write up to 600 words for this section, but do not worry if you use fewer.

2. Where and how will your project work?

You should tell us:

  • where the project will happen – including whether this is rural, urban or coastal, and any context about the area and the community that is relevant to your project. If your project will focus on a community of identity rather than place, please specify this
  • who will be involved – including how many people, whether there are any particular groups of people you’re looking to work with, and how you will support them to engage in the project
  • how your project responds to community needs, and is meeting people and communities ‘where they are at’ in taking climate action. (For example by using peoples every day activities as a starting point.)
  • how your project responds to any government objectives, local plans or priorities
  • any other relevant climate action projects that have taken place in your area that you are aware of or involved in
  • any challenges you expect to face in delivering this project and how you will overcome them.

You can write up to 800 words for this section, but do not worry if you use fewer.

3. How will you work in partnership with others to deliver your project?

This funding programme will focus on projects working in formal partnership with others. We usually describe a partnership as multiple groups working together towards a shared purpose. We expect partners to receive some of the money from the grant and have responsibility for delivering parts of the project as well as a shared responsibility for the project’s success.

We usually give our funding to the lead organisation in a partnership who can then pay the other partners for the work they do.

If your partnership will not have a lead organisation, we can also pay out the funding separately to each organisation with individual grant agreements.

If the lead organisation is not climate or environment focused, we expect at least one of the partners to have experience of climate or environment work.

For more information about our requirements in how partnerships are structured please see the 'Other things to consider’ section at the end of this page.

For more information about our criteria for partnership projects check the information on our webpage about who can apply to Climate Action Fund - Our Shared Future. In particular, please make sure you tell us about who will deliver activities for evaluation and learning, communications and any public engagement activities. We’re also interested to hear about how organisations like private companies are involved in partnerships, even though they are not eligible to receive funding.

You should tell us:

Who will be involved in your partnership - for all organisations, you should include:

  • the legal status of their organisation – you can find out what types of organisations are eligible to apply
  • the name of a main contact – including their job role, and details of their role in the partnership
  • the structure of the partnership and how it will be governed
  • how the partnership has come together
  • what each partner will be responsible for in the project.

You should also tell us how the partnership works alongside its broader community, however that is defined:

  • how you will work with and support communities, organisations or groups
  • how the partnership reflects the community it is aiming to support
  • who else might you need to help you achieve the aims of your project.

You can write up to 600 words for this section, but do not worry if you use fewer.

4. How will the project support communities to be meaningfully involved?

We’ll particularly work with partnerships who have a deep understanding of communities, people and the issues and interests that matter to them most . And in all the projects we support, people from communities must be meaningfully involved.

You should tell us:

  • how the community is involved in the design, development and delivery of the project
  • who you have spoken with or how you have worked with the community in the development of this project
  • how the project responds to what the community needs, and supports what is important to them
  • how you will address barriers to participation for underrepresented people and communities.

You can write up to 600 words for this section, but do not worry if you use fewer.

5. How will you generate evidence about the project?

You do not have to measure or evaluate everything in your project, but tell us what your evidence will focus on, why, and how you’ll gather it.

Before you respond, read the ‘What to expect from us’ section below to understand our approach to learning and evidence gathering.

You should tell us:

  • how you will generate evidence about the difference you are making
  • what are the changes you expect to see. For example, be specific about any:
  • changes you may evaluate to show the difference you are making
  • questions or issues you may generate new evidence about
  • new approaches or solutions you may test
  • any measures you plan to use. Such as participation and engagement, changes to policy or local plans, shifts in attitudes, behaviour change, or carbon reductions.

6. How will you learn and share what you learn?

We expect you to have a plan about how, and when, you tell others about what you’re doing and learning. Before your respond, read the ‘What to expect from us’ section below to understand our approach to learning.

You should tell us:

  • how you will set up a regular process of learning about the project and about the partnership
  • how you will make sure this learning is shared on time, and as widely as possible
  • your methods, audiences and approach
  • how will you increase participation in the learning process
  • what experience or expertise the organisations in your partnership have of generating and sharing learning
  • what support you would need from us to help you learn and share what you learn – for example in leadership, technical or evaluation.

You can write up to 500 words for this section, but do not worry if you use fewer.

7. How will you reach more people?

We want to reach people who are new to climate action which may include using people's everyday activities and interests as a starting point. We’re particularly interested in projects that involve people, places and communities experiencing poverty, discrimination and disadvantage as we know that these are the communities who are also likely to be hardest hit by climate change.

For example, your project might:

  • involve people who have been left out of the climate conversation. For example because they are new to climate action, or because they come from communities that experience poverty, disadvantage and discrimination.
  • introduce a climate perspective to a group who came together around another interest or activity for example arts, sports, and health
  • test the best ways to engage different audiences in climate action
  • spread an exciting local approach to climate action by sharing it nationally.

You should tell us:

  • what your plans are to engage new audiences and get more people involved in the project
  • if you will measure who is and isn’t involved in your work
  • about what experience you and your partners have in making changes to increase participation and engagement
  • how you will you make sure the benefits of the project are shared beyond the people and / or community you’ll be directly working with – including what experience you or your partners have of doing this.

You can write up to 500 words for this section, but do not worry if you use fewer.

Step 2 - gather your annual accounts

You need to gather the latest annual accounts for your own organisation as well as all partners receiving funding through this project, and upload them when you get to ‘Step 5’.

Step 3 – complete the project budget with income projections

We’ve sent you a budget template by email. You need to complete this, and upload it when you get to ‘Step 5’.

Your detailed budget should be broken down by year and include:

  • how much funding will go to partners, and for which areas of work
  • other funding you have or are looking for, for this project (including any decisions you are waiting to hear about)
  • details of job roles funded through the project, including:
  • number and length of roles, and their full time equivalents
  • whether they are already in post or will be recruited
  • which partner will recruit them
  • time and cost for project partners to reflect and learn throughout the project
  • completed financial information, including projected figures for the next year ahead, for yourself and your partners.

When you design and develop your budget, you should also include time and resource to take part in activities as part of the Climate Action Fund cohort of grantees as outlined in the ‘What to expect from us’ section. Depending on the type and size of your project, you should allocate at least one to two days per month for this.

We can also support capacity or developmental costs to enable smaller partner organisations to fully participate in projects. More information about the costs we can support through this funding is provided on our programme page.

Step 4 – create a project plan

You need to complete a project plan, and upload it when you get to ‘Step 5’. You can upload the plan in whatever format suits you best. Written plans should be no longer than 1,000 words.

We want to understand what will be delivered and when, including:

  • a timeline of main project activities
  • project milestones, outcomes and outputs
  • which partners will do what, and when.

Step 5 – fill out an online form and upload your documents

We’ll send you a link to an online form by email. You do not need to do it all in one go. You can save it and come back to it if you need to. In the form we’ll ask you for information including your:

  • organisation details
  • project details
  • Main and Senior contact details – including dates of birth and home addresses
  • supporting documents including your:
    • responses to our questions - listed in ‘Step 1’
    • latest annual accounts – described in ‘Step 2’
    • budget with income projections – described in ‘Step 3’
    • project plan – described in ‘Step 4’
    • a copy of your governing document (if you’re not a charity or statutory body).

What to expect from us

The Climate Action Fund is a 10-year a £100m commitment to empower and inspire more people across the UK to take climate action. The programme enables communities to work together, share their learning, and be active participants in a broader movement of change and aims to create more evidence and space for supportive policymaking at a local and national level, leading to a more resilient and equitable future.

Learning Together

We offer opportunities for development and co-learning to all the projects we fund through the Climate Action Fund.

Successful projects will join a group of community lead, local, national and UK-wide projects. These projects share an ambition, commitment, and determination to inspire communities to take climate action and adopt environmentally sustainable behaviours. Helping them to shape a sustainable future and improve people’s lives.

Supported by learning partners we organise regular opportunities to come together, to date this has included quarterly (online) events, coffee mornings and networking sessions to create connections and share good practice. As part of the group, you’ll be expected to take part and contribute to these events. Please set aside resources for this (e.g. time, budget, and expectations of roles).

Evidence Gathering

We’re committed to sharing evidence and learning generated by the overall Climate Action Fund programme about community-led action with grant holders across the Fund, communities, policy makers and the wider sector including other funders.

Given the wide variety of projects we fund, we have not taken a prescriptive approach to evidence gathering and evaluation. Projects are not expected to measure or evaluate everything in their project. But, we do expect all funded projects to have comprehensive plans in place to generate evidence on the difference they are making.

  • Once a year, well ask for some consistent information of all projects about your aims and activities (key monitoring indicators). These are both quantitative and qualitative. You will only provide information relevant to your project. This will provide insight into what community-led climate action looks like across the programme.
  • Twice a year well ask you to tell us how your projects going - including what youre learning and the difference your community-led action is making.
  • Throughout your project, we’ll ask you to take part in targeted research on priority topics, questions or themes. For example, research and sharing of learning on specific subject areas relevant to your project such as local authority engagement, equality diversity and inclusion practices.

Depending on the type and size of your project, you should allocate at least two days per month to gathering evidence about your project. Some projects may require more or dedicated roles and expertise. For example, large or complex projects, or those with a particular focus on innovation or new approaches. It’s important to build this evidence gathering into your plans and budgets.

Inspiring Others

We’ll provide training opportunities, tools and resources to support you shape your story of change and enable you to reach out to diverse audiences and inspire others to take action.

When you design and develop your budget you must consider the time and resource required to have an active role in the programme level activities outlined above to make sure that you make the most of this offer.

Other things to consider for your application

All partnerships will be different depending on the partners and how they agree to work together. Each partnership should be able to demonstrate collective skills, experience, capacity and commitment to deliver the project. And consider how smaller groups can be involved and supported. Your partnership should involve the communities you are working with. You should include them in the design and delivery of your project, and make sure they continue to have a say in how the project works. For example you could include smaller local community groups, or involve people with lived experience of the issue you are working on.

Partnerships should also have:

  • an agreement for how key decisions should be made and communicated
  • clearly set out and agreed roles and responsibilities for each partner.

We accept two legal structures for partnerships including:

  1. a lead partner organisation - who enters into partnership agreements with third parties, who then become sub grantees
  2. a group of organisations who work together but form separate grant agreements with us.

Well need legally binding written agreements

If we fund a lead partner, we require all project partners to enter into a legally binding partnership agreement as part of our terms and conditions. You do not need to send a partnership agreement to us with this application. But you will need one if we give you a grant and before the project has started.

These must set out the roles and responsibilities and ensure our terms and conditions are adhered to by all partners. We do not create or review agreements for third parties.

If we fund a group of organisations, we expect each grant holder to be subject to our terms and conditions. We'd also expect a memorandum of understanding between the partners which sets out expectations about roles, responsibilities and governance arrangements, including the role of The National Lottery Community Fund.

Tell us about any existing partnership arrangement in your application.

If a partnership structure is already in place, you should tell us in your application. We want to know about the existing arrangements in place (legally enforceable or otherwise). If necessary, we might need enhancements to the current arrangements or new legal relationships.

Template partnership agreement

We can give you a partnership agreement template, or you can create your own. The template may be helpful if you have one lead partner — the partner who gets all of the funding and passes some of it on to the other partners.

Our template is for guidance only and we cannot give you legal advice. You should get your own legal advice before signing any agreement if you’re unsure. If you would like this template, you should ask your Portfolio Officer.