Reduce your environmental footprint

The Outdoor Partnership

The Climate Emergency is everybody’s business, which is why The National Lottery Community Fund is acting to support communities in the UK who want to minimise their own impact on the environment.

In autumn 2019, we launched the Climate Action Fund, a £100 million programme, set over 10 years, that will support communities in the UK to take local action on climate change.

But we want to do more to help, both supporting existing projects and inspiring people to start new initiatives.

Need some inspiration?

We’ve already been hugely encouraged by many of the projects we’re funding.

For example, there’s Our Bright Future – a £33m programme formed of 31 projects across the UK that brings together the youth and environmental sectors.

Led by The Wildlife Trust, each project helps people aged 11-24 gain vital skills and experience, and improve their wellbeing. They then help to deliver change in their local community and environment.

Meanwhile, in Scotland there's the Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company, which received £112,500 to deliver eco-friendly modes of community transport, including its car sharing scheme to reduce isolation among older people. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, it also cuts the number of cars on the road and helps lower emissions.

Or what about the ‘Dref Werdd’, a social enterprise working to benefit the local environment and community in the Vale of Ffestiniog, North Wales?

In 2019 the organisation was awarded £499,220 through People and Places to establish a centre in Blaenau Ffestiniog that will provide convenient access for the community to the services that will enable them to overcome problems such as health and wellbeing, poverty and employment skills.

Focus areas include helping the community to find ways to save energy and money in the home, protecting the environment and reducing food waste.

- Feeling inspired? Apply for a grant today

How your group can reduce its environmental impact

The National Lottery Community Fund believes we all have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations - this includes the communities and projects we support. We want to inspire community groups to do their bit to reduce their environmental impact, especially in reducing carbon emission, the main driver of climate change.

What steps can community groups take to reduce their environmental impact?

We recognise many groups are run by volunteers and that time is precious – we have therefore created tips to get you started that will not only help the environment, by reducing carbon emissions but will also reduce your energy cost and save your organisation money.

Getting started: Top tips to reduce your environmental impact

  1. Reduce the amount of waste diverted to landfill by increase recycling. The Carbon Trust have published a wide range of free guides and resources to help tackle Net Zero, energy efficiency, and carbon reduction waste.
  2. Energy saving – save energy in the first instance and switch to a green energy supplier. The Carbon Trust offers guidance on Energy at home. You can also find out how to switch to a green and competitive energy supplier through social business Big Clean Switch
  3. Reduce the environmental impact of events – Considering the environment during your event planning is a simple and effective way to save resources, time and money. The Eden projects has some useful tips on how to do this at The Eden Project

Additional support: Where to go for more advice

We recognize that not one size fits all, and that groups require varying support. Here are suggestions on where to go for further environmental support and guidance:

In Wales

Free help for communities wanting to take action


This partnership offers free mentoring support to help community groups in Wales who want to take action on the impacts of climate change, to come up with an action plan. The organisation also provides training and an online community where you can find out more and share knowledge and experiences. When groups have developed their action plans with Egin they are welcome to apply for a Sustainable Steps Wales - Egin Grant from The National Lottery Community Fund

Sustainable Steps Wales- Green Careers

The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales are planning to help young people in Wales into green careers. By green careers, The Fund means careers that reduce carbon emissions, restore nature and help us adapt to our changing climate.

In January 2024 applications will open for partnerships that can help young people get green jobs by doing things like:

  • developing their confidence
  • teaching them new skills – this could include social and technical skills
  • work experience and placements which lead to longer-term opportunities.

The grants will be awarded to support disabled young people or young people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The programme is not yet open but if you have any questions about it please contact

Grants for Nature

In Scotland

  • Zero Waste Scotland provides free sustainability advice for organisations looking for ways to reduce their energy costs and/or cut waste.
  • If you're interested in developing a renewable energy project to benefit your community but don’t know where to start, Community Energy Scotland can provide support with funding source and applications, feasibility assessments, community consultation and much more.
  • Local Energy Scotland manages CARES – the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme, which provides communities, businesses and charitable organisations with advice and funding in all aspects of local renewable energy. This includes useful free online tools and good practice guides.
  • Keep Scotland Beautiful delivers The Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, which supports community-led organisations in Scotland to tackle climate change by running projects that reduce local carbon emissions. Development Grants are available in 2019/20 to help community-led organisations scope out a potential climate action project.
  • Greener Scotland is a one-stop website for greener living. This site combines a wide range of information and a heap of resources on areas from green travel to reducing food waste to help everyone in the country go greener together.
  • If you are developing an environmental project in a rural area of Scotland, the Rural Network Scotland can connect you with people, communities and organisations across rural Scotland and beyond to share knowledge, experience and ideas.

In Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) is the networking and forum body for organisations interested in the natural and built environment of Northern Ireland. They are involved in a wide range of environment areas. They organise events regarding environmental issues and policies, and regularly publish information sheets that explore environmental issues from a range of perspectives.
  • Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful works closely with schools, community organisations and public sector bodies to improve local environmental quality, increase public engagement and raise environmental standards of outdoor spaces and places where people spend time. They also deliver a range of environmental improvement campaigns and programmes for people of all ages.
  • Action Renewables provides expertise on renewable energy and energy efficiency, including advice on available technologies, across a range of sectors. They also offer support for Community Renewable Energy Projects.
  • Ulster Wildlife works to protect wildlife and to bring people closer to nature. They restore and protect natural habitats across Northern Ireland, on land and at sea, and are part of a network of independent Wildlife Trusts across the UK.
  • The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) connect people and green spaces across the UK. TCV works with communities to encourage greater access to a better environment. They run a range of programmes and activities to get people involved in caring for green spaces to improve the environment, learning and skills and health and wellbeing.
  • Northern Ireland Resources Network connects community groups, charities and social enterprises to promote less waste. They promote sustainable reuse and repair as a way to tackle waste generation and to help develop opportunities for a Circular Economy.
  • Sustainable Northern Ireland provides advice and support to organisations looking for ways to become more sustainable, including training, workshops, reporting, policy development and help to develop a climate action plan.
  • Organisations can find a range of advice on the webpages that covers everything from energy efficiency, waste and recycling, environmental quality in your local area, outdoor recreation, greener homes and gardens.

Changes we've made

We have an important part to play in combating climate change at The National Lottery Community Fund. Over the last decade we’ve been working to reduce our own environmental footprint in the following ways:

Waste and recycling

We are committed to reducing the amount of waste we divert to landfill and improving our recycling rates.

Staff are required to proactively reduce waste and increase recycling, by for example separating waste into recyclables and non-recyclable waste, buying products that have minimal environmental impact e.g. recycled paper and reduce the use of plastic packaging in the food we order for events.

76% of our waste was recycled in 2018


We are committed to reduce our use of physical resources such as paper and ink by reducing our printing within our offices.

We have rolled out new multi-functional printers that are default to print double sided. Staff use unique PIN codes to release printing and these are tracked with staff encouraged to print less.

We have introduced new technology including surface pros and video-conferencing facilities which further eliminates the need to print for meetings.

28% reduction in printed pages since 2017 resulting in 766,150 printed pages saved

Business mileage

Being in the communities we support means that our staff need to travel to meet groups, and we acknowledge that car travel has an impact on the environment through the release of carbon emissions.

We encourage staff to always opt for public transport as their first option. If that is not available, we promote car sharing and we only allow flights within England and Wales by exception.

Video conferencing

Utilising video conferencing in our offices and through our surface pros tablets means that we can cut down on unwanted car journeys for meetings.

Green champions

We have a network of ‘Green champions’ across our offices who organise environmental awareness raising activities. These dedicated people also support recycling and waste management within offices.

36 Green champions across our offices

Carbon Offsetting Benefits

We know that we generate Co2 emissions through the buildings we occupy and business travel, that’s why in 2018 we decided to voluntarily offset our remaining annual carbon footprint of 1,150 tonnes through the Carbon Footprint programme.

Through the Carbon Footprint programme we are supporting planting trees at sites across the UK that provide wildlife habitats, support biodiversity and enhance the natural UK landscape while offsetting CO2 emissions.

We recognise offsetting is not the ‘quick fix’ which is why we are also committed to reducing our carbon emissions further.