Guidance to develop your full proposal for Climate Action Fund

Guidance to develop your full proposal for Climate Action Fund

When developing your full proposal, you should refer to our criteria and priorities for this fund.

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.

Equality, diversity and inclusion in your project

You should also consider equity, diversity and inclusion when designing and running your project. You should remember to reflect this in all of the answers in your full proposal. You can get more information by checking the equity principles on our website.

How to submit your full proposal

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

  • step 1 – respond to our questions
  • step 2 – complete the project budget with income projections
  • step 3 – create a project plan
  • step 4 - gather your latest annual accounts
  • step 5 - fill out an online form where you’ll answer more questions about your project and organisation. We’ll 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 as a PDF 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 need to tell us:

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

You should tell us about:

  • your overall vision for the project
  • the project activities and its expected outcomes
  • the evidence you have gathered to show the project and its approach are what’s needed
  • how your activities will be sustainable after the funded 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 about:

  • where the will project happen – including whether it is rural, urban or coastal
  • who will be involved – including how many people and if there are any particular groups of people you’re looking to work with
  • the specific issues the community faces around climate change and addressing its carbon footprint
  • how your project responds to any government objectives, local plans or priorities
  • any other climate action projects that have taken place in your area
  • any challenges you expect to face 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?

Tell us about your partnership, including:

  • who will be involved in your partnership - for all partner organisations, you should include:
  • the legal status of their organisation – you can [find out what types of organisations are eligible to apply on our website]
  • the name of a main contact – including their job role, and details of their role in the partnership.
  • how the partnership will be governed – for example, with a partnership agreement
  • how the partnership has come together
  • what each partner will be responsible for doing.

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

4. How will the project put communities first?

Find out what we mean by putting communities first.

You should tell us:

  • how the community is involved in the design, development and delivery of the project
  • who you have spoken to in the development of this project
  • how the project reflects what is important to your community or the community you’re working in.

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

5. How will you measure and evaluate the project?

You should tell us:

  • how you will measure and report on the difference you are making
  • what the changes are you expect to see.

For example, you could measure:

  • behaviour change and shifts in attitudes
  • participation and engagement
  • carbon reductions.

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

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

We expect you to have an engagement plan so you can tell others about what you’re doing and learning.

We’ll support this work by arranging workshops and time to meet with other Climate Action Fund projects and our learning partners. Depending on the type and size of your project, you should allocate at least 1 to 2 days per month to engagement. It’s important to build this into your plans and budgets.

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
  • about your methods, audiences and approach
  • how will you increase participation in the learning process
  • what experience 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?

Where possible, we want the projects we fund to engage with people beyond those already taking climate action.

We also want to know how you’ll try to involve people and communities who are likely to be hardest hit by climate change, in both the development and delivery of the project. We know this will mean different things to different people and communities.

You should tell us:

  • what your plans are to engage new audiences and get more people in your community 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 go beyond your own community – 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 – complete the project budget with income projections

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

Your budget should include:

  • a realistic, full project budget broken down by year including:
  • how much will go to any partners
  • other funding you have or are looking for
  • details of job roles funded through the project, including:
  • the number and length of roles
  • whether they are already in post or will be recruited
  • which partner will recruit them (if applicable).
  • details of any services that will be procured and their value. In other words, any activities or services that will not be delivered by a named partner
  • time and cost for project partners to reflect and learn throughout the project.

Step 3 – create a project plan

You need to complete a project plan, save it as a PDF 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 4 - gather your annual accounts

You need to get your latest annual accounts, save them as a PDF and upload it when you get to ‘Step 5’.

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’
    - project plan - described in ‘Step 2’
    - budget with income projections – described in ‘Step 3’
    - latest annual accounts – described in ‘Step 4’
    - governing document (if you’re not a charity or statutory body).

Other things we consider when we assess your application

If you’re applying for a development grant

We’re offering smaller development grants to applicants who need time to develop their partnership, engage more widely or test their approaches.

You can apply for a development grant of between £50,000 and £150,000. Development grants can fund projects for 12 to 18 months.

Getting a development grant does not guarantee that you will get longer-term funding afterwards.

We may not have enough funding to offer full grants to all projects that get a development grant. If you get a development grant, you should look for other longer-term funding from other sources other than the Climate Action Fund.

What to do about partnership agreements

You do not need to send a partnership agreement to us with this application. But we will need to see this if we give you a grant.

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.

They 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 become sub grantees
  2. a group of organisations who work together.

We’ll need legally binding written agreements

If we fund a lead partner, we need legally binding written agreements to be in place between the partners. 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 partnerships 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.