The Outdoor Partnership

Reduce your environmental footprint

The Outdoor Partnership

The National Lottery Community Fund supports an amazing network of community groups to do extraordinary things – all over the UK. As the largest funder of community activities, we are committed to supporting people and communities to thrive. This commitment extends to supporting a thriving environment. We are passionate about minimising our own impact on the environment and that of the groups we fund.

We know we need to respond to the growing call for action to combat climate change. Public interest has triggered a wave of action from Governments to address climate change and to deliver a low carbon economy. The Welsh Government has declared a Climate Emergency in Wales to accelerate action to move away from fossil fuels. In June the Prime Minister declared that new legislation would be introduced to reduce carbon emissions in UK to zero by 2050.

What steps can community groups take to reduce their 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. 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's waste and recycling guide guides you through five steps towards good practice waste management. It includes avoiding waste in the first instance to waste disposal, and everything in between such as options for reusing, recycling and recovering waste.
  2. Energy saving – save energy in the first instance and switch to a green energy supplier.The Carbon Trust offers guidance on Energy and Water Efficiency 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:

  • If you run a community building or hub Sustainable Communities Wales provides free support on ways to help make your buildings more energy efficient.
  • Renew Wales offers peer-to-peer support to help communities take action against climate change. The organisation puts communities in touch with Peer Mentors who are able to share their knowledge and experience to inspire, support and enable others, and move people to take action on climate change at a community level.
  • WCVA Invest in Nature Cymru is a Welsh Government funded programme working to support any community group or third sector organisation wanting to start or develop an environmental project. It offers a telephone help and information service and can provide information about resources that will help you start or strengthen environmental activities.

Meet some inspiring groups who are supporting communities to connect with the natural environmental and reduce their carbon emissions.

‘Welcome to our Woods’ is a community partnership in the Upper Rhondda Fawr, South Wales Valleys and is working with the community to develop new ways of connecting people and their natural environment. It’s using a wide range of activities and initiatives including health walks, green gyms and healthy campfires, community food growing and healthy eating as well as growing produce locally in unused allotments to minimise waste areas. Through funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and Dormant Accounts the community is finding ways of managing natural resources and local spaces differently for the benefit of people’s health, wellbeing and in doing so enhancing the environment and employment opportunities within the community. Find out more at

‘Cyd Ynni’ is run by Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig (DEG) a social enterprise supporting community led action across northwest Wales to increase communities ability to cope with the rising cost of fossil fuels and improve the natural environment. Through funding from the National Lottery Community Fund the project is delivering community renewable energy projects in Gwynedd which support local people to reduce their heating and electric costs by utilising renewable schemes. They also provide energy efficiency advice to residents which is resulting in making energy and monetary savings as well as working within schools to highlight how behaviour can change in order to save on energy costs. For more information visit

Changes we've made

We have an important part to play in combating climate change. 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.